Man jailed after he stole £500 off Derry priest

FrontHolyFamilyChurchA man who stole £500 from a priest in Derry, after he gave him shelter at Christmas, has been jailed for six months.

28-year-old, Ciaran Hogan, of Cornshell Fields pleaded guilty to the theft at Derry Magistrates Court.

The Court heard that on December 18, 2011 the doorbell of the parochial house in Ballymagroarty rang at 5am.

Fr Paddy O'Kane said he opened the door to find Ciaran Hogan in "a very distressed state".

He said Hogan claimed to be suicidal and Fr O'Kane took pity on him and offered him a bed for the night as he was concerned about his well being.

However, the next day after Hogan had left, Fr O'Kane found that £500 had been stolen from a drawer.

Fr O'Kane then contacted the police and Hogan was subsequently arrested.

After he was arrested for stealing the money from Fr O'Kane, Hogan wrote to the priest from prison, asking for forgiveness.

Fr O'Kane visited Hogan in Maghaberry Prison and during the visit Hogan asked him to withdraw his statement to the police, but the Donegal born priest refused.

Hogan had initially denied his involvement in the theft but minutes before his contested case was due to take place yesterday, he pleaded guilty.

Fr O'Kane had written a letter in the media about the situation and stated that he felt his Good Samaritan attitude had been thrown back in his face.

Meanwhile speaking on todays Shaun Doherty Show, Fr Paddy O'Kane said he forgave Ciaran Hogan: