One of four women who travelled from Cork City to visit a ‘holy woman’ in a Co Cork town and then later the same evening stole an estimated €400 in goods from a shop has been jailed.
The four women had gone to Bandon last year just before Christmas to see the woman, but then they went into Cahalane’s Costcutter in the town, and stole numerous items before leaving.
All four were identified by CCTV and later questioned and charged.
Bandon District Court heard details of the offences yesterday and pleas of mitigation on behalf of the women, including that one had a baby two weeks ago; another is due a baby in December; and a third woman lost her brother in a drowning incident three weeks ago.
Bernadette Maguire, of 44 St Michael’s Lawn, Mahon, Cork, was jailed for 90 days for the stealing offence, which happened at around 8pm on December 19 last.
The court heard that Ms Maguire, along with Martina Maguire, who lives at the same address in Mahon, and Marion O’Driscoll and Rosalina Keenan, who both live in Ballinvoarstig, Dublin Hill in Cork, entered the shop holding ‘bags for life’ and then took an estimated €400 of foodstuffs before leaving.
Their solicitor, Plunkett Taaffe, said the group, who also had a young child with them, had travelled to visit the holy lady in the town for blessings but then “fell into temptation”.
He said all four were in serious financial difficulties and offered mitigation, including that Bernadette Maguire’s husband has developed epilepsy from brain damage since an accident in 2002 and that a daughter has undergone numerous open heart procedures.
However, Judge James McNulty said the group was “fairly determined to thieve” and “they got away with it until it was investigated”.
He jailed Bernadette Maguire, a 39-year-old who has 59 previous convictions including 10 for theft, for 90 days. Martina Maguire, due to give birth in December, is the 20-year-old daughter of Bernadette and has seven previous convictions.
Marion O’Driscoll, aged 44, lost her brother three weeks ago in a drowning incident in Ballincollig.
The mother-of-four has 45 previous convictions.
Ms Keenan, aged 21 and who has seven previous convictions, gave birth two weeks ago. All three were told to pay €500 in compensation by September 19 so as to avoid a jail sentence.
Judge McNulty said it had been a case of “brazen, barefaced theft” in a busy retailers in the run-up to Christmas and that as the older people in the group, Bernadette Maguire and Ms O’Driscoll were the leaders and should have had “moral authority”.
He said it would be contrary to the public interest and would do a disservice to the defendants if they were to be treated leniently.
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