West Cork shoplifter gets one last chance to ‘restore her dignity'

October 24th, 2019 5:05 PM

By Southern Star Team

Judge McNulty convicted the accused of stealling groceries from Aldi in Skibbereen. (Photo: Andy Gibson)

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A WOMAN who swore on the lives of her two daughters that she would never drive again and stay ‘clean and sober’ has been given a 30-day suspended sentence on three charges of shoplifting in Skibbereen.

Ray Hennessy, solicitor, thanked Judge James McNulty at Skibbereen District Court for not sending his client, Catherine Lydon (57) to jail.

He acknowledged that his client has 22 previous convictions, including charges for theft, no insurance, driving while disqualified, and drunk driving, but said it is only recently that she had attended rehab and quit her addiction to medication and alcohol.

Mr Hennessy appealed for leniency on the basis that his client has, since April of this year, moved out of her family home at Coronea, Baltimore Road, Skibbereen to Ballydehob and is now ready to take up a job in human resources in Dublin.

Judge McNulty convicted the accused of stealing groceries from Aldi on October 28th 2018 and twice from the Spar Filling Station at Cork Road on March 3rd and March 5th 2019 and imposed the 30-day suspended sentence.

However, four other charges relating to March 3rd and 5th – which include two counts of driving without insurance and two counts of driving while disqualified – have been adjourned to the December 10th sitting of Skibbereen court for review.

Sgt Paul Kelly said it was while investigating the shoplifting offences it came to light that the accused had driven to the filling station despite the fact that she was disqualified.

In adjourning the case for review, Judge McNulty said: ‘The longer she stays clean and sober, the better chance she will have of avoiding a sentence of five months in prison on each of the four charges.’

The judge asked the accused if she realised the consequences of getting behind the wheel of a car again.

The accused said she did and she told the judge: ‘I will never drive again.’

Catherine Lydon told Judge McNulty she had never before gone to rehab and that every previous decision she’d made had been ‘muddled and created havoc. Now that I am clean and sober I have a different outlook on life.’

Judge McNulty reminded the accused that the gardaí could re-enter the matter at any time if she re-offends and she could be sent to jail.

Mr Hennessy thanked the judge for not depriving his client of her liberty, saying: ‘This is the last chance in life she will get to restore her dignity.’

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