Broke father stole Easter eggs for family

By Andrew Phelan

A CASH-strapped father-of-five who stole eight Easter eggs to give to his children has been given a three-month suspended sentence.

Noel Dempsey (58) made an "error of judgment" when he took the eight Ferrero Rocher eggs worth €119, Dublin District Court heard.

Suspending the sentence for three years, Judge Timothy Lucey warned Dempsey that he needed to "cop on".

Dempsey, with an address at Stanaway Road, Dublin 12, pleaded guilty to stealing the Easter eggs at Tuthill's shop, Ashleaf Shopping Centre last April 12.

The court heard he went to the shop at 2.50pm on the day, took the eggs and passed all points of payment. Staff followed him outside and asked him to return to the shop. Gardai were called and he was arrested. He admitted taking the eggs to the arresting garda, signed her notebook and was apologetic.

The court heard the accused had several previous theft convictions and had been given suspended sentences in the past.

"It was an extremely foolish decision," his barrister Emmet Nolan said of the latest theft.


"He is a father of five children and simply didn't have the money to pay for the eggs. He made a grave error in judgment. It's not an offence that was particularly sophisticated. He simply picked them up and attempted to walk out with them."

Mr Nolan pointed out that the accused had co-operated with security and made immediate admissions to the garda.

The court heard a family member had died recently and this had "weighed heavy" on the accused.

Dempsey himself came from a family of 16. He had worked as a glazier but was now on disability allowance as he had severe health difficulties, suffering from haemochromatosis and diabetes. He had also undergone quadruple bypass surgery recently.

The defendant had a bad record but no addiction problems, Mr Nolan said. He deeply regretted the theft and realised he had put his liberty in jeopardy.

Because of the ongoing medical care he requires, he would find prison "extremely difficult".

Judge Lucey noted the accused had previous convictions from Athlone, Mullingar and Clonmel, remarking that he "gets around".

"I don't think he's going to get a prison sentence for eight Easter eggs, but he would want to cop on a little bit," the judge said.