A heroin addict who stole two jackets from Marks&Spencer because that’s what his dealer told him she wanted, and then turned up to court under the influence of the drug, was jailed for six months this week (March 4 ).
Inspector Nicholas Farrell told how Raymond O’Neill (25 ) with an address in Meadowbrook, Willow Park, Athlone took the two garments - worth a total of €210 - on March 1 from the store, and left without paying.
“Why would you want to steal two female jackets?” asked a curious Judge Seamus Hughes.
“For heroin,” said an unsteady O’Neill.
“How would you know that’s what the dealer wanted?” continued the judge.
“Because she said she wanted them. I was dyin’ sick with the heroin, so I went to see a friend and told her I wanted to get a bag off ye,” said O’Neill.
The court learned O’Neill exchanged the two jackets for a €25 bag of heroin.
The judge wanted to know if O’Neill co-operated with gardaí after being arrested, and the defendant said he had, and gave a name to the court.
“That’s a man’s name,” said the judge, who turned to Inspector Farrell for clarification.
“We’re happy enough [with his co-operation],” said the inspector.
“There’s too much of this carry-on in this town. I’ve been here for a year and a half, and I don’t think I’ve ever met the receiver of all these stolen goods,” noted Judge Hughes.
He was then informed the defendant had 41 previous convictions, including six for assault and one for possession of explosives, and which saw O’Neill spend 15 months in prison on his last sentence.
“Are you in a bad place today? Strung out?” asked the judge, and O’Neill agreed.
“You are a dangerous criminal, and even more dangerous when you’re on drugs. I have to send this man back to prison,” said the judge, to which O’Neill’s partner voiced her agreement.
He sentenced O’Neill to a further six months in jail, to run consecutively with a sentence handed down in Longford recently, from which he has a release date in May.