A MOTHER-of-two was with her chronically sick daughter in Crumlin Children's Hospital when she stole a handbag belonging to a grandmother who was visiting her own ill grandchild, a court heard.
Siobhan Farrell (35) snatched the bag after the victim put it down in a cafe at Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children.
Farrell was going through a "bad time in her life" when she carried out what was described in court as a "heinous" and "shameful" crime.
Judge Catherine Murphy told her to write a letter of apology to the victim and adjourned the case for a probation report.
Farrell, a mother-of-two of Croftwood Drive, Ballyfermot, pleaded guilty to stealing the woman's bag containing €300 and her mobile phone.
The incident happened on October 17, 2012. Dublin District Court heard the accused's three-year-old daughter had blood disorders and Farrell was in the hospital with her while she was being treated.
She was in the coffee shop when she saw the woman's bag on the ground and took it.
Farrell saw the bag when her child went to the toilets, solicitor Matthew De Courcy said.
Her social welfare had been stopped, the bag was unattended and she saw "an opportunity" and took it home.
It was a "foolish and spontaneous crime. She was in dire financial straits when she did it. There is no getting away from the fact that this was a heinous crime and she is holding her hands up to it."
Farrell had made admissions, but disputed the amount of money in the bag, which she said was €100, not €300.
The court heard Farrell was caring for her daughter and her older son was about to make his confirmation.
"What you did was shameful," Judge Murphy said. "You were the mother of a young child in hospital and the injured party was a grandmother.
"To take her handbag with her mobile phone and cash while she was visiting her grandchild in hospital, it would be hard to find anything more shameful than that."
The accused told the court that she had phoned the owner and told her she would leave it in a garda station and left a note in it saying she was sorry.
Judge Murphy told the defendant to write a letter to the victim explaining that she was going through a "particularly bad time" in her life.
The letter should state that she is sorry and would not make anybody else suffer like the victim had suffered, the judge said.
The judge adjourned the case to July 16.