The news we read nowadays features common topics of violence and atrocities. However, every once in a while, there comes a piece of news that is simultaneously shocking and amusing. You are about to read one such incident from Belfast.

In October 2015, 24-year old Robert Sharkey of Grays Hill, Belfast noticed that his downstairs neighbour, Marie Conlon’s (68) post was piling up. He kicked open the door to Ms. Conlon’s apartment and discovered her dead in bed. However, instead of informing her relatives or the police, Sharkey stole £50 from her handbag. He shut the door behind and pretended nothing had happened.

A few days later, Sharkey returned to Ms. Conlon’s apartment when he needed lightbulbs. He stole the bulbs along with some batteries, a cup, and a screwdriver. He also went through her post and discovered a new bank card with other confidential details. Thus began a series of fraudulent activities that might take Sharkey to jail now.

For two years, until Ms. Conlon’s remain were discovered in October 2017, Sharkey used her card to order pizza worth £6000 from Domino’s. He would always order for nine-inch pepperoni and anchovy pizza and two tins of juice for delivery between 4pm and 6pm. In fact, the staff at Domino’s had nicknamed him “fish guy”. In order to avoid suspision, he continued to Ms. Conlon’s Rates bill. Her bank account was also receiving the weekly pension.

What facilitated Sharkey’s fraud was the fact that Ms. Conlon was an extremely private person. She kept to herself and maintained minimal contact with her relatives. Police discovered her remains in a state of decomposition, only after one of her relatives expressed concern about her safety.

Belfast “fish guy” in trouble for pizza

Sharkey’s bubble burst on October 6, 2017, when police came to inquire about Ms. Conlon. He confidently told them that she was out and won’t be back until evening. He further added that he had not seen her for weeks; however, he had heard someone coming and going below him.

Police finally arrested Sharkey on October 10, 2017. At the time of his arrest, Sharkey’s Belfast apartment was filled with empty pizza boxes from Domino’s.

To justify his misconduct, Sharkey said he didn’t inform the authorities as he was worried about calling them. He had been on probation after previously being convicted of disorderly behaviour. He also added that he was low on cash at the time. The ‘fish guy’ eventually admitted to his wrongdoing.

Sharkey has been remanded into custody and his sentence will be delivered next Friday. Well, I guess, there are no free lunches after all.