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Thursday 14 December 2017

Gran with 30-year criminal record avoids jail for theft

Kathleen Comerford
Kathleen Comerford

A serial bag snatcher with a previous record of more than 130 convictions has been spared jail for her latest theft.

Kathleen Comerford (65), a grandmother with a criminal career spanning at least three decades, was found guilty of stealing a purse from a woman's handbag as she tried on a pair of shoes in a city centre store.

Judge Katherine Hutton gave her a six-month suspended sentence after finding her guilty of theft. Comerford, of Sean O'Casey Avenue, Summerhill, had denied the charge.

The victim told Dublin District Court she was in Penneys on Mary Street on March 14 and had selected a pair of shoes to buy. She sat down and put her bag, containing her purse, beside her.

Security then made her aware that her purse, which had bank cards and €20 to €30 in cash in it, had been taken from her bag. It was returned to her later.

Detective

A store detective said she was walking through the shop when she noticed the accused "taking an interest in" women's handbags in the shoe department.

Comerford went to the bench where the victim was sitting and put her hand into her bag, taking out the purse.

The court heard Comerford had 132 previous convictions, most of which were for theft. She had a long history of offending going back 30 years, but had no recorded convictions since 2015, said her solicitor Declan Fahy.

She had raised four children, all now adults, and had grandchildren as well.

She had a number of health problems including emphysema. She also had an alcohol addiction and would go binge drinking in recent years.

On the day, she was in the shop and "succumbed to temptation", said Mr Fahy.

Judge Hutton said she would impose a "fairly lengthy" sentence because of the repeat offending, but suspended it for a year.

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