A 48-year-old man who "swindled" an elderly widow out of nearly €20,000 has been given a suspended 12-month jail sentence and ordered to pay back the last €4,000 he owes the woman.

RTE are reporting that Seamus Maher, from Mayfield, Claremorris, Co Mayo, had pleaded guilty to 11 counts of theft.

Detective Garda Chris Murray told Roscommon Circuit Court earlier this year that Maher, who was described as an "addicted gambler", had taken approximately €19,360 by deception from Elizabeth Fallon, of Dysart, Co Roscommon, from January 2013 into the following year.

The court had been told that Maher had called to her home to solicit payments for a new water purification system.

Ms Fallon told Gardaí she felt pressured by this man calling to her house.

Judge Keenan Johnson heard that Maher had paid back compensation already, but had just over €3,900 left to pay.

Judge Keenan handed down a 12-month jail sentence to Maher, but said he would suspend it to allow him repay the rest of the money before April of next year.

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