Mum sent kids to steal on Christmas Eve

A mother of three who sent two children into a supermarket to steal food on Christmas Eve was given a two month suspended sentence at Derry Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

The court heard that Rose Marie McDonagh (32) of no fixed abode had been in custody since the incident the day before Christmas and had been forced to spend the festive season separated from her children.

This, presiding Judge Paul Connolly said, was what prompted him not to sentence McDonagh to an immediate custodial sentence.

The court had been told police were called to the Iceland store at Foyleside on Christmas Eve after two children were seen leaving the store with a bag of perishable food items without paying.

They were seen to get into a Donegal registered car which the defendant was driving. Police caught up with the car later and spoke to McDonagh who provided a false address in Letterkenny. She was found to have no valid insurance and to be a disqualified driver.

When interviewed she admitted she had sent the children into the store to steal the items. A barrister acting on behalf of McDonagh said his client’s two months spent on remand on the charges had kept her from her children with Christmas - which was “particularly difficult”. The sentence was suspended for 12 months.