Sunday 22 April 2018

Former bridal store owner admits stealing dress payments from brides-to-be

Shop hit headlines in 2015 when angry brides-to-be stormed premises

Robelle Brides Annacotty, Co Limerick.
Robelle Brides Annacotty, Co Limerick.

David Raleigh

A former bridal store owner has been given a 12-month suspended jail sentence after admitting stealing dress payments from bride-to-be customers.

At her sentencing hearing at Limerick Circuit Court, gardai accepted that Shirley Flanagan, proprietor of Robelle Bridal, Annacotty, "did not intend to con" the women.

Ms Flanagan's barrister said she found herself in financial difficulties and in the throes of a deep depression following the death of her young son in April 2011.

Ms Flanagan (36) with an address at Rathurd, Donoghmore, pleaded guilty to four counts of theft totalling €3,600, on dates between January and May 2015.

Garda Sean O’Regan, told the court that gardai received a formal complaint from one of Ms Flanagan's customers on May 7, 2015.

A number of women had paid Ms Flanagan cash for designer dresses - in some cases the women were given other dresses, while in other cases they did not receive any dress.

The mother of one customer paid Ms Flanagan €1,800 for a David Fielden dress, but never received it. In other cases, women gave Ms Flanagan deposits for dresses designed by Kenneth Winston and Justin Alexander, however they did not receive the dresses.

Gardai were alerted to the thefts after the matter was highlighted on social media sites. They found no orders had been placed with suppliers, despite Ms Flanagan receiving money for the dresses.

The shop hit headlines in 2015 when angry brides-to-be stormed the premises after failing to receive the dresses they had ordered for their weddings.

A group of women, who had handed over substantial cash deposits for wedding dresses, rushed into the bridal shop and helped themselves to dresses on display in the shop.

The women said they complained to gardai about their problems in trying to secure the dresses they had ordered several months ago

Her solicitor told the Herald he was "not in a position to comment at this time" about the claims made by the women.

The court heard Ms Flanagan had been severely traumatised by the tragic death of her young son.

Garda O’Regan that the defendant had not "set out to con people" and was trying "to make a go" of the boutique business.

Cathal McGreal, defending Ms Flanagan, said she had set up the business as a "distraction" from her grief.

Ms Flanagan cooperated with gardai and none of the weddings were cancelled as a result of her actions.

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