A HOUSE party guest stole the host's laptop computer because her child needed one for schoolwork and she felt "under pressure".
Sandra Byrne (46) admitted taking the computer along with a mobile phone and wallet while at the party in a house in north Dublin.
Dublin District Court heard she had had "a lot of difficulties in her life" after the death of a son at the age of six.
Judge Catherine Staines adjourned the case for the production of a probation report.
Byrne, of Cromcastle Close, Kilmore West, Coolock, pleaded guilty to stealing the property at Hollybank Road, Drumcondra.
Garda Philip Cunningham told the court that Byrne attended the party on March 29.
The laptop she took was worth €485 while the phone was valued at €100 and the wallet at €10. After leaving the house, she was identified to gardai who got a warrant and searched her home, where they found the property.
"When I went into the house and explained the situation, she told me where it was," the garda said. She was arrested and taken to the Bridewell Garda Station, where she made full admissions when interviewed. The court heard she had one previous conviction for theft and a probation order had been made as a result. Byrne had later phoned the victim and the gardai to apologise for her actions.
Gardai had been told she would be pleading guilty and the injured party had not needed to come to court.
"He was very appreciative that he didn't have to take the time off work," the garda added.
Byrne has one child aged 11 -- a son died in 1999, which led to "a lot of difficulties in her life", her lawyer said.
Byrne was also primary carer for an elderly aunt who was suffering from dementia. Recently her brother had also died tragically and this had had a profound effect on her and her family.
Byrne had "struggled with alcohol" in the past but was no longer drinking.
The court heard a lot of her child's peers had laptops for their education and she felt under pressure. She was not aware the phone and wallet were with it when she took it.
Judge Staines adjourned the case to October 27.