39-year-old jailed for handbag theft

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A man who stole a woman’s handbag as she ate in a city centre fast food restaurant has been jailed for four months.

Hugh Gerard McConnell, of Eden Terrace, pleaded guilty to theft on December 9, last year.

Derry Magistrates Court heard the injured party was in McDonald’s and had put her handbag over the back of her chair.

A short time later McConnell handed the bag to the injured party and claimed he had found it in the toilets.

The court heard that £60 had been removed from the bag.

Police were called and CCTV recovered 39-year-old removing the handbag from the seat and going towards the toilets with it.

The money, which McConnell had given to his partner, was returned to the injured party.

Defence counsel Eoghan Devlin said his client is a ‘vulnerable individual’ who suffers from ill health.

He told the court the 39-year-old is homeless and ‘would rather go to jail’ even though it ‘isn’t easy for him’.