Judge fears for bible in hands of ‘kleptomaniac’

A 39-year-old woman described in court as a “kleptomaniac” might pose a risk to the court bible, a judge remarked to the woman’s solicitor yesterday.

Angela Murphy of Lower William Street, Listowel, had notched up 82 convictions for small theft.

The mother of five age was a recovered heroin addict, and was before yesterday’s sitting of Tralee District Court on five charges ranging from stealing cotton buds and a toothbrush, to two-litre bottles of vodka, meat and fish fingers, a bottle of wine.

Spar Supermarket, Listowel, was the location of three of the thefts and the woman pleaded guilty to all the charges.

She was already on bail pending an appeal of a sentence of ten months at the Circuit Court, the court was told.

Clutching the court copy of the New Testament and appearing to read it in the witness box, her solicitor David Ramsay explained to Judge James O’Connor this was because Ms Murphy derived “some comfort” from the good book and from the Psalms in particular.

Mr Ramsay went on to appeal to the judge for leniency saying that all the thefts were continuously for “small items”.

“My client suffers from kleptomania,” Mr Ramsay said.

“In which case is the bible safe?” the judge asked.

Judge O’Connor handed down a total of 15 months imprisonment.

Later in the afternoon the appeal against the ten month sentence in the Circuit Court was withdrawn.

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