Thief who is responsible for 10 children is spared jail

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A 42-year-old Moira man who is responsible for 10 children and who stole a credit card from Australian tourists over five years ago was spared jail today (Tuesday) for his “shameful and disgraceful” crime.

Judge Patricia Smyth told David James Griffin, of Station Road, that while the custodial threshold had been crossed, she was prepared to suspend his 16-month jail term for three years, given the passage of time and his lack of re-offending since.

The Belfast Crown Court Judge warned Griffin - whose wife has recently given birth to their second child but who also has responsibility for “eight other children in the household” - that regardless of his future circumstances, any re-offending would see him sent to jail.

The court had heard that in May 2012, Griffin had tricked a housekeeper in Belfast’s Jury’s Inn into opening a room occupied by an Australian couple after hearing them give their room details at the breakfast bar in the hotel.

When the couple returned to their room, they found a number of possessions missing including a credit card which Griffin later used to go on a spending spree in Lisburn - even using it to pay for an overnight room in a Premier Inn.

His defence lawyer Eoghan McKenna said that a sentence handed to Griffin had previously been deferred and importantly, there were no other cases pending to be heard in the courts, and his client was not under any further investigation.

“This is a man who has a lot to lose if returned to court... he does appear to have moved on from offending, and it is five years since this all occurred,” added Mr McKenna.