Crime Ring in probation limbo

Two heroin-addicted sisters, in court separately this week (April 14 ) on a number of different charges, were both remanded on continuing bail to April 28 and June 23 to ascertain if their claims of rehabilitation can be corroborated by the Welfare and Probation Service (WPS ).

In court were Natasha (22 ) and Stacey (25 ) Ring, from Thornbury Drive, Willow Park, Athlone who both pleaded guilty to a number of unrelated theft and burglary charges.

Natasha was convicted of three counts of shoplifting a total of €88 worth of goods from Xtravision, Athlone Town Centre and Dunnes Stores between January 12 and March 16.

Her previous convictions were read to the court and included an 11 month sentence on September 23, also for theft.

“She was sentenced to 11 months in prison? Which she served by March 16, when she was in Dunnes Stores?” asked Judge David Anderson.

Her solicitor, Mr Paul Connellan, told the court how this client was a heroin addict and handed in a doctor’s letter to confirm this.

“She has, to her credit, availed of the services available to her. She is on a methadone programme, is seeing Dr Flannery and attending an addiction counsellor,” said Mr Connellan.

The judge asked for reports from the doctor and Ms Ryan, the addiction counsellor, and asked the WPS to monitor a programme of urine analysis.

He was made aware of a suspended sentence facing Natasha in Dublin and remanded her to appear in the new court complex on Parkgate Street for last Thursday (April 15 ) to attend to this, before remanding her back to Athlone District Court on April 28 “for mitigation and an explanation as to what happened that 11 month sentence”.

“I won’t direct for a probation report at this stage,” he said.

About an hour later her older sister Stacey, the first of five Ring siblings to have appeared before this reporter, took to the dock to plead guilty to trespass, burglary, theft, and three counts of failing to appear in court.

The court heard how she had broken into a house in Willow Park on October 2, 2008 in which a 58-year-old woman was in residence and stole a mobile phone. On March 4, 2009 she stole €122 worth of products from Boots, and on three dates between April 16 and October 28, 2009 she failed to appear in court as directed. She also pleaded guilty to a theft in Longford and from Kilmartin’s garage in Athlone.

Stacey had previously been sentenced in Longford, Ballinasloe as well as in her home town, the court heard.

“She’s holding her hands up to all matters,” said her solicitor, Mr Tony McLynn.

“These offences were commited when she was going through a bad period in her life. She has been a chronic heroin addict,” he said.

“She hasn’t come to any undue attention since October last year and has since given birth to a son.”

Mr McLynn handed in letters from the HSE and social services in which he claimed they were “very impressed with Ms Ring and her partner in how they have turned themselves around”.

“Stacey and her partner [who attended court] are in a position to look after their child when he is released [from hospital],” said Mr McLynn.

Judge Anderson sought a probation report to confirm this, and remanded Stacey to reappear on June 23.

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