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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

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Drunken Cumbrian chef stole life-saving equipment from rail station

A hotel sous-chef has admitted stealing a heart defibrillator from Carlisle railway station.

Daniel Louis Friend-Finnerty, 23, appeared at Carlisle Magistrates’ Court.

The court was told that he had been on a night out in the city with friends on February 28 and, during the evening, ended up at the Cumberland Infirmary, possibly because his drink had been spiked.

Prosecutor Adrienne Harris told the justices that when Friend-Finnerty left the hospital he went to the train station, but had missed the last train.

She said CCTV images showed him entering the station, then minutes later walking out, before returning to the platform.

“As he left the second time he was seen to be carrying a yellow box which held the defibrillator,” she said.

Friend-Finnerty, of the Brackenrigg Inn, Watermillock, Pooley Bridge, then got a taxi to take him back to the hotel where he lives.

Ms Harris said: “When station staff realised the defibrillator was missing the CCTV images were checked and he was later traced by police to the hotel.

“The taxi driver was traced and he told officers his fare had been carrying a yellow box.”

The machine was found by officers in his room at the hotel. He initially told police that he didn’t know what it was but said he was drunk at the time.

Ms Harris said: “The theft of this machine could have led to serious circumstances if someone had been taken ill at the railway station.”

Lauren Heasley, for Friend-Finnerty, said that her client was “very sorry” and “thoroughly embarrassed” by his actions.

“He had had too much to drink. He and some friends had come into Carlisle for a night out.

“He had been working long hours at the hotel over Christmas and the New Year, and it was his first time out for a while.

“He can’t remember why he went to hospital but he thinks his drink had been spiked. He discharged himself from the Cumberland Infirmary before being examined.

“My client appreciates the implications this theft could have caused if the machine had been needed for medical reasons.”

He was given a conditional discharge for six-months and must pay prosecution costs of £85.

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