Addict with 250 convictions jailed for €1,000 theft spree
A thief with more than 250 convictions has been sentenced to six months in prison after she went on a shoplifting spree.
Heroin addict Margaret McDonagh (35) went into the 53 Degrees North store in the Blanchardstown Centre retail park with a pram.
She placed more than €500 worth of clothing in the pram before trying to walk out of the store without paying for the items, Blanchardstown District Court heard.
Security staff stopped McDonagh and subsequently searched the pram and found more than €400 worth of goods, which the defendant had stolen from other nearby stores.
McDonagh, of Focus Ireland, Stanhope Green, Dublin 7, pleaded guilty to the theft of numerous items totalling €948.68 from Maxi Zoo, Homestore & More, Inspiring Ideas, Woodie's and 53 Degrees North in the Blanchardstown Centre last February 29.
She further pleaded guilty to the theft of groceries worth €118 from SuperValu, Rowlagh, Clondalkin, last Christmas Eve. She was detained by security staff after committing this off-ence and arrested by gardai. The goods were recovered, the court heard.
It was discovered that McDonagh was on bail at the time of the February offences. She has a total of 251 convictions, of which 229 are for theft offences.
Defence solicitor Jennifer Jackson said McDonagh offers her "apologies" to the court and the stores she had stolen from.
Ms Jackson said the defendant, who is single, engaged in drug use after her father died several years ago.
"She is a heroin addict who hasn't been able to kick it," she said. "She seems to have fallen through the cracks and, despite having received numerous prison sentences, nothing seems to be making a difference."
She said McDonagh, who is currently serving a sentence, is now engaging with a drug counsellor and is on methadone.
"She is remorseful and is in the throes of a serious heroin addiction, which needs to be tackled," said Ms Jackson.
Judge Grainne O'Neill said she noted what Ms Jackson had said about McDonagh's drug addiction but said she appeared to be doing well in custody.
"She has an extraordinary level of previous convictions," the judge added, before senten- cing McDonagh to six months in prison.
"I wish her the best, but it is in her hands to avail of the services while in custody.