McDonnell, No Remorse, Lived the Highlife, and Enjoyed it? Suspended Sentence?

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Single mum on benefits spent £22,000 in two-week spree after cash was accidentally paid into her bank account

  • 11:30, 13 Sep 2022
  • Updated: 13:21, 13 Sep 2022

A SINGLE mum went on a two-week spree spending £22,000 after the money was paid into her bank account by mistake.

Margaret McDonnell, 23, who is on benefits, was left stunned when the whopping amount of £43,750 was deposited into her account.

Margaret McDonnell went on a two-week shopping spree
Margaret McDonnell went on a two-week shopping spreeCredit: Courtpix
The single mum was accidentally sent £43,000
The single mum was accidentally sent £43,000Credit: Courtpix

The woman went on a “massive spending spree” buying clothes and shoes for her two children as well as dinner and gifts for her friends and family, the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.

McDonnell received a suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty to 13 counts of theft of cash from the Bank of Ireland in March 2013. 

After she found the cash in her account, McDonnell ate out every night for two weeks and bought gifts including two crystal vases and a “crystal mushroom lamp,” the Irish Mirror reported at the time.

McDonnell was ordered to pay just £860 back to the bank within 18 months.

Judge Cormac Quinn said at the time: “If it’s too good to be true it is because it is too good to be true.”

The blunder happened when a Bank of Ireland customer was accidentally given a wrong IBAN number as he tried to transfer £44,450 into his account from a foreign bank account

The man was given McDonnell’s bank account details by mistake with the money dropping into her account on March 6.

The single mum went on a spending spree over the next days in Dunnes Stores, Tesco, Heatons, Centra, Lifestyle Sports, Shoe Rack and New Look.

Once the bank realised the mixup, it took back £23,000.

After her arrest, the mum accepted full responsibility for spending the money and told officers she thought it was hers.

She said: “I just went on a high. It was such a lot of money. It was in my account so as far as I was concerned it was mine”.

She continued: “If only you knew me, you would know I was bothered by this.

“Any young girl on social welfare like me would have done what I did.”

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