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Shoplifter who took Christmas decorations is spared jail term

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Carol Plunkett has been living in ‘abject fear’ for her health

Carol Plunkett has been living in ‘abject fear’ for her health

Carol Plunkett has been living in ‘abject fear’ for her health

A shoplifter who stole Christmas decorations from a discount store has been spared jail.

Carol Plunkett (50) was given a nine-month suspended sentence after a court heard she has been living in "abject fear" during the pandemic because she has respiratory problems.

Plunkett, with an address at a Stoneybatter hostel, pleaded guilty to theft.

She had initially opted for trial by judge and jury, but changed her plea to guilty at Dublin District Court.

Plunkett went to Dealz on Moore Street last November 9 last and took Christmas items worth €35.50, which she hid.

She was stopped and the goods were recovered, a garda sergeant said.

Plunkett admitted two more shoplifting charges - of €109 worth of groceries from SuperValu, Heuston South Quarter, last August 23 and more goods from Spar, Portland Street, on June 25 last year.

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Plunkett had handed herself in to gardai, her solicitor John Feaheny said. 

She had spent every day of the lockdown "in abject fear" because she had respiratory problems and other illnesses. 

The accused had problems going back 20 years, before which her life was as normal as anyone's could be, Mr Feaheny said.

She had recently lost her sister and her mother, and Mr Feaheny asked the judge for leniency.

The judge said Plunkett had a "lot of previous convictions".

Mr Feaheny said his client had "a lot of baggage".

"A lot of people do, and they don't go out committing offences," the judge said.

"I have no charges this year," Plunkett said. "I'm trying to make something of my life."

The judge suspended the sentence for a year.​​​​​​​​​