A 34-year-old Killarney man has avoided jail for deceiving a vulnerable elderly man from whom he gained money in a ‘roofing racket’. Patrick O’Brien of 122 Ballyspillane, Killarney, pleaded guilty at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court to two counts of making a gain by deception of the now 90-year-old man. Married father-of-three Patrick O’Brien has four previous convictions for deceiving elderly people in Cork city and suburbs between 2012 and 2013. He pleaded guilty at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court to a further two counts of making a gain by deception in July 2013 in a rural area near Killarney. The court heard he had called to the home of an elderly man and led him to believe his roof needed repairs costing €4,400. Det Garda Ian Kelly said the man lived alone and was vulnerable and had just received news his son had cancer and confided this in O’Brien. O’Brien told him his guttering needed replacement and his flat roof badly needed replacing. The man wrote a cheque for €2,000, payable to the defendant’s wife Helen, which was cashed that day. He returned two days later demanding money for materials and labour, and received a cheque for €2,400, which was also cashed. The victim became suspicious when more money was demanded, the court was told. The elderly man was very embarrassed by being duped and his confidence was shaken, the garda added. Judge John Hannan imposed two concurrent 18-month sentences for each of the charges but suspended these for four years on account that one of O’Brien’s children was incapacitated and depended on his care.