herald

Monday 18 November 2019

Shoplifter was funding drug addiction following accident

Deborah Armstrong was left paralysed on one side
Deborah Armstrong was left paralysed on one side

A serial thief who stole hundreds of euro worth of groceries had relapsed on drugs after being prescribed pain relief medication for an injury, a court heard.

Deborah Armstrong (44) was jailed for 14 months after she admitted a spate of thefts around west Dublin.

Armstrong, with addresses at Shancastle Lawns and St Mark's Avenue, Clondalkin, pleaded guilty to theft and other offences.

Blanchardstown District Court heard that on various dates this year and last, she stole groceries, alcohol and clothes from shops including Aldi in Palmerstown; Tesco in Lucan; Eurogiant at Mill Centre, Clondalkin; Lidl at Fonthill Retail Park, Clondalkin; and Penneys, Liffey Valley Shopping Centre.

On one occasion she used a foil-lined shopping bag to avoid detection.

Alcohol

Another time, Armstrong was abusive and insulting to gardai when arrested.

The goods taken included more than €900 worth of assorted groceries €300 worth of alcohol. She had 13 previous convictions.

The reason behind the thefts was a drug addiction Armstrong "hadn't been able to get a handle on", her barrister Jennifer Jackson said.

The accused had previously had a heroin addiction, then in 2015 she was in an accident that left her paralysed on one side.

She was prescribed opiates for pain relief and fell back into drug addiction after years off drugs, Ms Jackson said. The thefts were to feed her habit.

Armstrong was in custody at the time of her court appearance and was drug-free and "doing well".

Judge McHugh gave her eight and six-month sentences, making them consecutive, back dating them to July.

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