A woman who appeared at last week’s sitting of Longford District Court charged with criminal damage was sentenced to three months in prison, which the judge subsequently suspended.
Rose McDonagh (35), Halting Site, Harristown, Castlerea, Co Roscommon appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes charged with damaging two kids' jumpers; two ladies' jumpers and a ladies' jacket - value €110 - at Heaton’s, Ballymahon Street, Longford on November 11, 2015.
Outlining the evidence to the court Superintendent Fergus Treanor said that on the date of the incident, the defendant entered the store, picked up a few items and proceeded to take the tags from the clothing.
He then said that Ms McDonagh may have realised that she was being watched, because she threw down the clothes and attempted to leave the area.
“It appears then that she may have seen that she was being observed because she left the clothes down and moved away,” the Superintendent continued.
“The clothes were then discovered damaged by staff.”
In mitigation, the defendant’s solicitor Frank Gearty said his client had experienced “a most disastrous visit to Longford” on the occasion.
“She came up on a trip and ended up getting into very serious trouble,” he added.
Judge Hughes then asked how many previous convictions the defendant had and he was told 51.
“They are mainly for road traffic offences,” added Superintendent Treanor who provided the requested details to Judge Hughes.
“Eight of them are for theft.”
It then emerged that the defendant had been caught stealing in Dublin on a previous occasion and when the Judge asked her what it was that she stole, she said she couldn’t remember.
It was also brought to Judge Hughes’s attention that Ms McDonagh had spent time in prison.
“You are a prolific thief that seems to be only getting caught a percentage of the time,” Judge Hughes fumed.
In mitigation, the defendant’s solicitor Frank Gearty said his client had three children aged 15, 12 and 10 years.
“All these children go to school and have good attendance records,” Mr Gearty continued.
“Her sister took care of the children when she spent time in prison - she was there for six weeks in total - and Ms McDonagh is someone who is trying to do her best.”
During his deliberations on the matter Judge Hughes said he never wanted to see the defendant in front of him again.
Upon her conviction the Judge handed down a three month suspended prison sentence and also fined her €200 in respect of the matter.