'Those were my false teeth', claims granny accused of shop theft
A grandmother accused of stealing a packet of hair clips from a shop has claimed she was simply putting her false teeth into her grandson's buggy at the time.
Pauline Irwin, of Hunter's Green, Hunter's Way, Ballycullen, Co Dublin, lost a €75,000 defamation action against Claire's Accessories UK, The Square, Tallaght, and was ordered to pay the store's costs.
Ms Irwin told barrister James Burke, for Claire's Accessories, that she suffered from painful gums and regularly took out her false teeth to spread antiseptic cream on them and relieve her pain.
She said she had been putting her teeth under the baby's buggy blanket when pictured on CCTV in the Claire's Accessories shop on April 4, 2015.
"I suffer from painful gums and I had to take my teeth out that day," she told Mr Burke.
"I have to do it about three times a day."
Ms Irwin claimed she had been wrongfully accused of taking a €7 packet of hair clips.
She said pictures shown to the judge of her putting something under the baby's blanket were misleading, as it was her teeth she had in her hand.
She took out her denture plate to show the judge and to compare it to the size of the packet of clips it was alleged she had taken.
She said she had left the store to put antiseptic cream on her gums and had been stopped near the multi-storey car park by the store manager and a security guard.
"The manager shouted and screamed at me and searched my buggy and bags," she said.
"I showed my sore gums to the security man and I was frog-marched back to the shop to view the CCTV."
Ms Irwin told Mr Burke that the CCTV did show her putting something under the blanket in the shop, but said it was her false teeth.
When told by Mr Burke that this was the first time false teeth had been mentioned, she said the shop manager had not given her a chance to explain about her teeth.
Manager Claire Benson said she had seen Ms Irwin put the hair clips under the blanket and had taken pictures with her phone from the CCTV monitor to confirm that what she had seen was correct.
"I saw her conceal the packet of clips under the blanket. I'm 100pc certain it wasn't her teeth," Ms Benson said.
She said Ms Irwin had her teeth in her mouth at the time.
She denied shouting or screaming at Ms Irwin who, she said, had searched her own bags and the buggy.
When the clips had been found, Ms Irwin had said they belonged to her daughter, for whom she had been looking after the baby.
Judge Jacqueline Linnane said Ms Benson had been very clear in her evidence of having seen Ms Irwin, by means of angled ceiling mirrors and CCTV, take the clips and conceal them.
The court accepted there was no shouting or screaming or frog-marching of Ms Irwin and the pictures, which the judge said clearly showed her putting something under a blanket, aroused suspicions.
Dismissing Ms Irwin's claim "without hesitation", the judge said she accepted fully "the far more credible" evidence of the defendants.
"Ms Irwin in the shop didn't have the story she presented to the court that she took out her false teeth because her gums were sore," she said.