Anna Leask

Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

100-year-old gets his justice

Frank Glavish, who will be 101 next year, says he was glad Marylynn McVeigh didn't go to jail. Photo / Richard Robinson
Frank Glavish, who will be 101 next year, says he was glad Marylynn McVeigh didn't go to jail. Photo / Richard Robinson

When a fraudster stole $300 from Frank Glavish he was determined to see justice done. This week the 100-year-old succeeded when he became the oldest person to give evidence at a criminal court hearing.

On Thursday Mr Glavish sat in the witness box at the Waitakere District Court and testified against Marylynn McVeigh, who stole from him in September. At the end of a defended hearing McVeigh, who also goes by the name Marilyn Carroll, was convicted of fraudulently using Mr Glavish's Eftpos card to obtain a pecuniary advantage.

She was ordered to pay the money back to him and sentenced to 60 hours of community work.

Mr Glavish, who turns 101 in March, spoke about the case yesterday.

"I wasn't nervous, I was just concerned she would go to jail. I'm glad she didn't," he said. "Honesty is the best policy. Stealing other people's money - that's just not on."

McVeigh will be paying Mr Glavish back $10 a week, meaning it will take nine months to get the full amount returned to him.

"That'll be no problem - I don't even feel old now. Even though I'm 100 years old, I don't feel it."

Constable Paul Larsen said McVeigh approached Mr Glavish last year, claiming to be a relative. She would stay at his house and there were no warning signs she was about to rip him off. Then in September she picked him up to take him to an event at Shelly Beach and stole the money on the way.

"She more or less forced him to go along. Somewhere between his place and Helensville she got hold of his Eftpos card," he said. "She stopped at a petrol station that had an ATM about 100m along the road. She was quite clever, she left him in the car and had a disguise - glasses and a hat - covering her face. She withdrew the money and they carried on to the event."

Mr Glavish believes she found out his PIN by watching him key it in while making purchases on other trips she took him on.

His daughter, Tonka Price, had no idea that McVeigh had taken Mr Glavish from his home that day. She lives just up the road and visits him daily.

She tried to contact him and started to worry when he was not home by 6pm. Then he got dropped off by some other neighbours who had been at the same event.

"Marylynn had just left him there. Dad was very upset, he was quite shaken," she said.

"The next day dad couldn't find his Eftpos card and I checked his account and $300 had been taken out. I reported it to the police straight away."

Mr Larsen obtained security footage from the ATM clearly showing McVeigh's clothing. He compared that to photos taken of her with Mr Glavish at the event soon after and it was very clear to him that she was responsible for the withdrawal.

But McVeigh denied the allegation and the matter went through the court process.

"She tried to defend it and say the person in the photos wasn't her. But the judge felt that we put pretty compelling evidence before the court."

Mr Larsen was told Mr Glavish was the oldest person to give evidence in the district court.

"Obviously Frank and his daughter knew that they were right, so it was a matter of principle for them. In his summary the judge said he was not very impressed with Marylynn taking advantage of a vulnerable old man."

Mr Glavish worked as a fisherman and well driller and only stopped going out in his boats a couple of years ago. He was driving on his own until March and still lives in his own house.

"He is fiercely independent. He arrived at 100 and he's still got his humour, his intelligence and he's still got a kind heart and he's stoic. It's a great achievement," said Mrs Price, who is now keeping a close eye on her father's visitors.

"He's a determined person, he's stubborn and he just wants his money back."

Mr Glavish said had always lived by the rule that if you wanted something, you had to earn it - so stealing was unacceptable to him.

"When I was 16, a sawmiller in Helensville told me that if you want to be good at finance and you want to buy something then you have to save up to do it. I have stuck with that rule all of my life - you don't get into debt. Save up and never take money from people."

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf01 at 28 Dec 2014 00:05:26 Processing Time: 401ms