Judge Seamus Hughes jailed a woman for seven months for shoplifting last week
A Longford woman who stole over €1,300 worth of goods from retail shops in Longford town over the course of a five month period has been sentenced to seven months in prison.
Caroline Kelly, 3 Farrell's Terrace, Granard, Co Longford pleaded guilty to a series of shoplifting offences at last weeks sitting of Longford District Court.
Ms Kelly, through her solicitor John Quinn, initially pleaded guilty to all charges before the court but later denied some of the alleged offences she had been accused of committing.
Sgt Mark Mahon said Ms Kelly stood accused of carrying out illegal transactions using a stolen bank card at Newsround, Heatons and the Kiosk Shop in Longford town over the course of August 27 and 28.
Earlier this year, he said Ms Kelly had also withdrew €200 on two separate occasions, again using a stolen card.
He also said gardaí had charged Ms Kelly with stealing a Bosch hoover from Providers in Longford town on September 5 valued at €349 along with €100 worth of cosmetics and perfumes from Baxter's Pharmacy on September 5.
In total, Sgt Mahon said the overall value of items allegedly stolen by Ms Kelly amounted to €1,325.
And, in completing his address to the court concerning Ms Kelly's background, he said she was someone who had 95 previous convictions to her name, 62 of which were for theft.
The most recent was earlier this year for trespass and resulted in a fine of €105 being handed down.
Ms Kelly, who was wearing a black tracksuit, said she was keen to draw a line under her present predicament and take whatever punishment the court deemed fit.
However, she was also anxious to state that not every offence was carried out by her.
“It wasn't me that committed all those offences but I want to deal with them and go into custody and sort my life out,” she said.
When asked how she went about committing a string of 'tap and go' or contactless transactions, Ms Kelly said she had obtained three bank cards from a purse she had taken.
“I did do Baxter's Chemist,” she admitted.
“The vacuum hoover (from Providers), I am guilty of that.”
Ms Kelly said there were three offences listed by Sgt Mahon she was not guilty of.
“I stole one bottle of whiskey from Aldi,” she said.
“The other items in the bag were paid for and the (bank) card used in The Kiosk was not me
In defence, Mr Quinn said his client appeared in considerably better physical and mental shape at last Tuesday's court sitting than previous occasions and was eager to sort her life out.
“On the other couple of times she was in court she was not with it at all,” said Mr Quinn.
“She was in a very bad place with drugs and alcohol.”
Mr Quinn also suggested to the court that Ms Kelly's shoplifting had been exacerbated by the company she had been surrounding herself with.
“She was being used by others and others were benefiting from her situation,” he said.
In summation Judge Hughes said it was inevitable Ms Kelly was facing a spell behind bars.
“I will give her seven months which I feel is proportionate in relation to the totality ,” he said.
In doing so, he struck out 11 other theft related offences.