Founder of children's charity found guilty of stealing over €18,000

He had been accussed of using Santa charity to steal denies lodging money to his own account

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Updated 16.35

Atravel agent accused of stealing from a charity he set up to send children to Lapland has heard it owed him €69,000 was found guilty today.

John Murphy of Church Road, Killiney, Co Dublin denied lodging four cheques totalling over €18,600 into his personal account.

After just 42 minutes of deliberations, the jury came back with guilty verdicts on all four counts of theft.

They related to four cheques lodged into his personal account from The Children to Lapland Appeal – a charity he set up in 1987.

One of the directors who signed the cheques said he was “horrified” when he heard what happened and told Gardai he believed it amounted to fraud.

His defence claimed his personal account was also used for his business United Travel, which used to subsidise the charity. He said he used to pay expenses and wages from it.

The court heard the charity owed United Travel €69,000 at the end of 2009 – a few months before the offences took place.

The court also heard Mr. Murphy is in remission from cancer and has a sister who is dependent on him, but despite his barrister’s plea for him to remain on bail, Judge Patrick McCartan remanded him in custody ahead of his sentence hearing next week.

Murphy was remanded in custody and is due to be sentenced next week.