A senior Crown prosecutor and qualified solicitor who stole more than £5,000 from his employer has been jailed.

Eoin MacCarthy, of CPS Devon and Cornwall, was given a six-month sentence at Swindon Magistrates’ Court last week.

The 57-year-old admitted one charge of fraud by false representation after submitting more than 60 bogus travel expenses claims from his home address in Ivybridge, Devon to Bristol Crown Court.

Local media reported that MacCarthy claimed £5,780 over a period of six months. He was able to self-authorise the claims because of his seniority and the fact that they were under £500.

Suspicions arose when an expenses review was carried out which found that MacCarthy was on holiday and in the office on days when expenses were claimed. 

He was suspended in November last year and under interview in May made a ‘full and frank’ admission of guilt to the CPS.

MacCarthy claimed his son had got into debt at university and needed help paying off his loans. He took out credit cards to help his son but was unable to pay off the debts, the court heard.

Chairman of the bench Peter Hyson told MacCarthy his offending warranted a custodial sentence.

‘We had to balance the impact this has had on you and your professional standing, on your reputation in the community, with the fact that you were in a position of trust and that trust was in the justice system,’ he said.

MacCarthy joined the CPS in 1990 and rejoined in 1998 after a brief stint elsewhere. He was based in the rape and sexual offences team.

According to the Law Society’s Find a Solicitor website, he was admitted to the roll in 1986.

Defending MacCarthy, Chris Albin of Albin & Co Solicitors said he came to court ’knowing that everything he has worked so hard for in his life has gone’.

Albin added: ’The loss of his job is inevitable. He knows he will be struck off and never able to practise law ever again.’

A spokesperson for the Solicitors Regulation Authority said the regulator would collect all relevant information before deciding on action.