Addict's life spiralled out of control after family killed in fire
A SHOPLIFTER with 136 previous convictions had started taking drugs after three members of his immediate family died tragically in a house fire, a court has heard.
Stephen Shiels (29) was fined €200 when he admitted stealing groceries at a north Dublin supermarket a week before Christmas.
The accused, with an address at Snowdrop Walk, Darndale, pleaded guilty to the theft of €30 worth of groceries at Tesco, Clarehall Shopping Centre on December 18, 2014.
Dublin District Court heard Shiels went to the shop and filled a basket with groceries, then left without paying.
He was stopped by security and all the property was recovered and fit for sale. The court heard the accused's prior convictions were for offences including theft.
"He accepts he has an appalling record," his lawyer said.
Shiels' most recent conviction was in 2013; he had not been in trouble for some time after that and this was his "first slip" since then.
"It was the week before Christmas, he wasn't trying to feed his habit, it was groceries," his lawyer said.
Shiels had started taking drugs at the age of 18 when three members of his family died in a house fire.
Judge Bryan Smyth imposed the fine and conviction after Shiels pleaded guilty.