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'Despicable' mum-of-five handed boy stolen clothes

A MOTHER-of-five who involved a young child when she went shoplifting had been threatened by her husband and told to go out and steal to make money, a court heard.

Elaine Joyce (36) handed the bag of stolen clothes to the youngster when she was caught and had to call him to get him to come back with the goods.

She drove away from the scene while banned from driving and with 19 previous convictions for uninsured motoring.

Judge Michael Walsh said her actions were "despicable" and ordered a pre-sentence probation report after hearing she had 98 previous convictions.

Joyce, of Greencastle Road, Coolock, admitted charges of theft and driving without insurance, a licence, NCT or road tax.

Dublin District Court heard the incident happened at Donaghmede Shopping Centre on August 20, 2012.

Garda James Denieffe said he went to the scene of the theft at Dunnes Stores drapery at 2.22pm. Joyce had selected a number of items and brought them to her car. When caught, she handed the bag of clothes, worth €86 to a young boy and directed him to leave the area.

She then contacted him and asked him to come back.

BANNED

She was arrested and brought to Coolock Garda Station.

The court heard Joyce had 98 previous convictions, including 22 for theft and 19 for driving without insurance. She had been banned from driving for six years in 2007.

Joyce realised the seriousness of the situation and that her behaviour in involving the child was deplorable, her solicitor Joe Coonan said.

The court heard she was separated from her husband, who had been abusive and introduced her to heroin.

He had forced the drug on her because he thought "she needed to be on heroin for her to be on parity with him".

Joyce was under great financial pressure at the time of the theft, Mr Coonan said. Her husband had taken all the social welfare and left her without any money for her and the children. He the threatened her to go out and steal.

Joyce "had turned things around" and was doing her best to distance herself from her husband. She was on a methadone programme and had given birth to her fifth child seven weeks ago.

Judge Walsh said what Mr Coonan said in mitigation was reasonable in the context of a theft but did not "fit" with the motoring offences.

"She thinks she can drive around without any tax, NCT, licence or insurance, in other words she is above the law", he said.

He adjourned the case to September 18.

aphelan@herald.ie


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