Man who spent £6k of his dead neighbour’s money on pizza facing jail term
A BELFAST man who prevented the burial of his elderly neighbour’s body for two years and spent £6,000 of her money on pizza has been told to prepare for prison.
Robert Sharkey (24) lived in an apartment next door to Marie Conlon (68) in the Larkspur Rise area of west Belfast when her body was discovered in October 2017.
Appearing in court in Belfast yesterday, Judge Piers Grant said Sharkey was guilty of a “wicked, wicked series of offences” against “a completely vulnerable” woman.
After hearing the facts of the case, Judge Grant said he would take a week to consider the highly unusual case but warned Sharkey a custodial sentence was inevitable.
The court also heard staff at Domino’s pizza had nicknamed the defendant ‘The Fish Guy’ for his routine daily order of a nineinch pepperoni and anchovy pizza between 4pm and 6pm.
Sharkey gave little reaction as the details of his crimes were read out.
On October 6, 2017, Ms Conlon’s body was found by police “in an extreme state of decomposition” after concerns for her safety were raised by a family member.
Her family had told officers she was “an extremely private person who kept herself to her- self ” and had made little attempt to have any contact with family members despite their efforts to do so.
A group of Ms Conlon’s family were in court yesterday, but declined to comment afterwards.
When police called on Sharkey on the day they found Ms Conlon’s body, he at first said he expected her to return that evening.
He was later arrested and his apartment was found filled with empty pizza boxes.
“I was worried about ringing the police, but it was also a time when I was struggling with money,” he told officers after his arrest.
“I had no money at all and she had her handbag in her bed beside her and her purse was open and there was money in it (£50) and I took it.
“I left the apartment and closed the door and pretended nothing had happened.”
As well as pizza, Sharkey used her bank cards to pay £1,030 for phone bills, £2,452 at Sainsbury’s and £285 on electricity bills.
To avoid getting caught, he also took care to pay two rates bills for Ms Conlon of £573 in September 2016 and £586 a year later.
A defence barrister said Sharkey had cooperated with po- lice, but Judge Grant said: “He was pretty much confronted red-handed.”
The defence barrister added: “Having started down this line it was hard to stop”.
Judge Grant commented: “There was a simple way to stop. Stop stealing.”
Sharkey was remanded in custody ahead of his sentencing which is due to take place next Friday.
Robert Sharkey at an earlier court sitting