Devoted Hartlepool mum pleaded with a judge after her drug addict son stole £250 when he took her bank card

A mum’s devotion to her drug addict son saved him from jail after he stole cash from her bank account.

Thursday, 5th December 2019, 3:28 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th December 2019, 7:20 pm
The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

The judge said Tony McKinley’s long-suffering mum had endured five years of disappointment and betrayal.

She dabbed at her eyes as her smartly-dressed son, now 23, from Hartlepool, walked free from Teesside Crown Court after admitting stealing her bank card and withdrawing £250 from her account.

His lawyer Stephen Constantine said she had put into words better than anybody her faith in him and that the family could hope for a better future for them all.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Mrs McKinley, who was accompanied by her husband, said in a letter to the judge that her son still had to prove that he had won their trust to be allowed to live back home.

But he had already severed his ties to the drugs world, and he was working with drugs and alcohol help groups.

Defence barrister Mr Constantine said that McKinley had co-operated with the agency Restorative Justice to make reparation to the victim of a burglary he committed during his addiction.

He added: “She has made a heartfelt plea for her son in her letter and it’s clear that these proceedings have been initiated by Mr and Mrs McKinley because they want the court to make further work to help him.”

He said that the probation officer described in the pre-sentence report that his progress had been “very well”, which was an indication of what McKinley was capable of.

McKinley faced immediate custody because he breached a 10 months suspended jail sentence for the burglary.

Prosecutor Andrew White said that McKinley went to his mother’s home on May 3 and they had a long heart-to-heart and she was so happy when he did not ask her for money that she gave him five pounds.

After he left she discovered that her bank card was missing from her bag, and she later found that he had used it to withdraw £250 from her account.

He rang her later saying “I owed money”, and he sent her text messages apologising.

Mr White added: “She contacted the police and she was frightened what might happen to him.

”He was arrested and in a short personal statement she described the anxiety she feels for what he is involved in and she is scared for his future.”

Mr White said that the Crown submitted that the offence was a breach of trust with high culpability and additional harm on account of the emotional distress.

The judge, Recorder Darren Preston said that McKinley was obviously a very capable young man who had been making great efforts to put his problems behind him.

He added: “You will probably never know how much you have got to thank your mother for the help she has been in the past.”

McKinley, of Catcote Road, Hartlepool, was sentenced to another eight months jail suspended for 12 months and consecutive to the 10 months suspended sentence, making 18 months in total, and 15 sessions of rehabilitation requirements and a two months curfew from 9pm to 7am after he pleaded guilty to theft.