THIS is the woman who stole a purse and €100 from a female guest while she was in a church attending a wedding ceremony.
Karen Ward (33) was followed out of the church by the victim's husband who confronted her and retrieved the purse and its contents.
Ward was before Tallaght District Court for sentencing after a judge remanded her in custody for a week while he considered the matter.
Speaking on Ward's behalf, a female relative asked the judge to give her "one last chance" as she had been through "hell" in the last few years, and all the family wanted was to have a happy Christmas.
"Please let her out for Christmas," pleaded the woman.
Defence solicitor John O'Leary said Ward's week in custody had not been a pleasant experience.
Judge James McDonnell said he was shocked at Ward's crime. He sentenced her to six months in prison suspended for three years.
Ward, of Weavers Court, Neilstown Road, Clondalkin, had admitted stealing a purse containing €100 cash at the Church of the Annunciation, Willbrook Road, Rathfarnham on October 2, 2010.
Garda Sergeant Carmel Henry had told the court that Ward drove to the church in Rathfarnham and attended the wedding service. She took a purse from the pew in front of her during the ceremony and started to leave the church.
The court had heard the victim's husband followed Ward out of the church, chased after her and retrieved the purse.
The defendant left in a car but she was later identified and arrested.
The court heard that Ward had 14 previous convictions, including a number of previous convictions for theft.
Judge McDonnell said Ward's crime was "one of the most horrible that can be committed against a person under the Theft Act".