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Sunday 19 January 2020

Prolific thief stole €550 worth of Lego to fund drug addiction

April O’Brien was given a one-year suspended sentence
April O’Brien was given a one-year suspended sentence

A prolific thief who shoplifted more than €500 worth of Lego was stealing to fund a heroin addiction at the time, a court has heard.

Mother-of-one April O'Brien (27) was spared jail after a judge remarked that although she had 53 previous convictions for stealing, she was now "dealing with her demons".

O'Brien, with an address at a city centre hostel, pleaded guilty to theft.

Judge Michael Walsh gave her a one-year sentence but fully suspended it for a year.

Dublin District Court heard O'Brien went to Hodges Figgis on Dawson Street last June 6 and took five boxes of Lego worth a total of €550.

She left without paying and the property was not recovered.

O'Brien also admitted other thefts, including stealing electronics and make-up worth €369 from Marks & Spencer on Jervis Street on July 4 and €100 worth of cosmetics from Boots on Grafton Street on September 14.

Appalling

The accused had 97 previous convictions, 53 of which were for theft.

Her solicitor, John Feaheny said O'Brien accepted her history was "absolutely appalling".

She had had a "bad heroin addiction" and was living in hostels and on the street.

The accused told the court that since going into custody, she had been in education, was on methadone and attending counselling.

She had also been living in the Phoenix Park in a tent before going into prison, O'Brien told the court.

Before, she was not getting any help and had "no stability, goals or focus" but she now had the support of her family, she added.

Judge Walsh said the accused's offending history was "dreadful" and no redress to the victims had been offered.

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