Suspended sentence for thief with ‘absolutely deplorable’ record

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.
The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

A judge has said he would have ‘no hesitation’ making an order to exclude a man believed to be forcing his wife to shoplift from their home.

District Judge Barney McElholm made the comment as a woman with an ‘absolutely deplorable’ record appeared at the local magistrate’s court for shoplifting.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is responsible for four children who are subject to a care order. These children were described in court as ‘vulnerable’.

The defendant admitted stealing an item worth £12.99 from B&Q on October last year.

A letter from social services was handed into the court which ‘suggested’ the woman’s husband was forcing her to shoplift.

The defendant had already received warnings from the court she would go to jail for stealing.

District Judge Barney McElholm said if the husband is putting pressure on the woman, the court can make an order to exclude him from the home.

He said the court has the power to do this if it is in ‘the best interest of the children’.

The judge said social services should give ‘serious consideration’ into applying for such an order if someone is ‘promoting criminal conduct’ in the home.

He suspended a 12 month sentence for three years and warned the woman ‘you are going to have to stop stealing’.