Six months for handbag theft at jewellers

A Mayo woman, with 88 previous convictions, was sentenced to six months in jail for entering the staff area of a city centre jewellers and stealing money from handbags.

Teresa McDonagh (31 ) with an address at 8 Hollow Grove, Castlebar, Co Mayo, appeared at Galway District Court last week charged with trespass at Fallers Jewellers, Williamsgate Street, Galway, and committing the theft of €65 in cash from three handbags, contrary to Section 12 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud ) Act 2001, on December 20, 2011. She was also charged with another trespass offence at Euro 2, Mainguard Street.

The court heard that the defendant had pleaded guilty to the charge last week but the case had been adjourned because McDonagh had a suspended sentence for a previous conviction. The suspended six month sentence was reactivated and McDonagh is now serving that sentence.

In relation to December 20 offence the court heard that McDonagh went into Fallers Jewellers and proceeded to go into an area where she was not supposed to be and took a total of €65 in cash from the handbags of staff members. Inspector Ernie Whyte said that McDonagh has a total of 88 previous convictions the majority of which are for theft related offences.

Defence solicitor Ronan Murphy said that his client had had a very difficult childhood and that she left the familiy home at 14 years old after efforts by her family to marry her off and she refused. McDonagh suffered from a serious addiction to drugs and alcohol but has received treatment for this. Mr Murphy added that a lot of the offences relate to her addiction problems.

“It is very serious to go into a place of work and take money from people trying to earn a decent day’s work,” replied Judge Mary Fahy. Taking the number of previous convictions into account Judge Fahy then convicted McDonagh for the Faller’s Jewellers offence and imposed a six month sentence to be served on lawful termination of the sentence currently being served. For the remaining trespass charge McDonagh received a six month sentence which was then suspended for two years on condition that she enter into a bond of €200 to be of good behaviour and to stay away from Galway city and county during that period.


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