Despite rehab offer addict gets another eight months

An addict who re-started her thieving career just days after being released from jail was sent back for eight months this week (November 20 ) after a judge ran out of patience with her.

Appearing in court on Wednesday (November 20 ) was the now homeless, former Brawney resident Jessica Gaffey (32 ) who pleaded guilty two weeks ago to a number of house burglaries and thefts from cars across Athlone in the second half of October.

On her last two court appearances (November 6 and 14 ) - in the face of strenuous Garda opposition - Gaffey avoided an immediate return to custody after Judge Seamus Hughes heard she was in line for a place at the St Francis rehab unit in Tullow, Co Carlow.

A representative of the Simon Community who vouched for Gaffey, told the judge she had been provisionally accepted to the residential facility, subject to a series of clean tests, and pending the outcome of an outstanding trial at the Central Criminal Court of Justice in Dublin on November 14.

However, in court this week (November 20 ) Inspector Nicholas Farrell told how Gaffey had failed to turn up at that court appearance in Dublin, and had been found trying to conceal Xanax tablets in Kilmainham Garda Station on October 19 where she had been brought after attempting to steal two phones on the Athlone-Dublin train.

Her other outstanding offences included taking €52 from a car in The Moorings, Athlone on October 26; stealing €300 worth of jewellery from Sonas retirement village on October 30; trespassing in a house in Parnell Square on November 13; and taking a handbag in Carton Drive on November 15.

“You were in great form, making all types of assurances to me... but it’s as simple as this. I’m giving her eight months knowing she won’t serve anything close to that,” said the judge

Gaffey’s solicitor, Mr Mark Cooney, told the court how she had a “chronic [heroin] problem”, and the inspector pointed out that she had 72 previous convictions, and had failed to appear in court on 10 occasions.

She had been released from Limerick prison on October 16 after serving seven and a half months of a nine-month sentence, handed down on March 3.

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