Friday 19 January 2018

Woman (31) who used stolen debit cards to buy groceries receives suspended sentence

The Criminal Courts of Justice
The Criminal Courts of Justice

Brion Hoban

A Dublin woman who used stolen debit cards to buy groceries has received a suspended sentence.

Susan Lawlor (31) pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to thefts at location in Dublin city centre on dates between February 9th and 22nd, 2016.

Lawlor, of Trafalgar Terrace, Monkstown, also pleaded guilty to impeding an investigation by removing a knife from a crime scene on February 27, 2016.

Garda Shane Behan told Peter Le Vert BL, prosecuting, that Lawlor did not steal the debit cards herself. They were given to her by Thomas Murray (34) of Cedar House, Marlborough Street, Dublin, with whom she lived at the time, after he stole them.

Gda Behan said that Murray stole handbags from woman on multiple occasions with the use of a knife. He said that on some occasions Murray would cut the straps from their shoulders, while on others he would use the knife to threaten the women.

He said that he discovered CCTV footage of Lawlor using a stolen debit card in a SuperValu on Aston Key on February 9th 2016 after a complaint was made by the owner of the card.

Gda Behan said Lawlor paid by touching the card on the contactless payment machine and did not need to use the chip in pin machine.

He said that Lawlor had been apologetic and made full admissions following her arrest. He said that Lawlor said she had used the cards rather than Murray as they had a female name on them.

Garda Sergent Joanne McCormack gave evidence of Lawlor paying for groceries and food with other stolen debit cards on three other occasions during the same month.

Sgt McCormack said Murray attempted a robbery on February 27, 2016. Members of the public intervened, chasing Murray and ultimately holding him on the ground while waiting for gardaí to arrive.

She said people who gathered around the incident saw Lawlor pick up the knife which Murray had used in the robbery and left the scene with it in her possession.

Murray was sentenced to eight years in prison in March of this year with the final two years suspended for a number of robberies.

Lawlor said in court that she had not been in a relationship since this incident. She met Murray in 2013 and they have one daughter together.

The court heard Lawlor has one previous conviction for theft, and on none of the counts she pleaded guilty to did she steal more than €25.

Sandra Frayne BL, defending, said Lawlor currently resides in a hostel. She was a hairdresser for a number of years before meeting Murray and developed a heroin addiction after meeting him.

Judge Martin Nolan imposed a two and a half year sentence which he suspended in full. He ordered 15 months probation supervision. He told Lawlor this was her “last chance.”

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