Mother used son, 5, to steal two baskets of clothes

A mother who used her five-year-old to steal two baskets of clothes from Penneys had a jail term overturned yesterday.

Mother used son, 5, to steal two baskets of clothes

At Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Tom O’Donnell said he was “appalled” at the behaviour of Tania McCarthy, aged 29, for using her son in the double theftlast year.

In June 2015, the married mother of four was jailed for four months for the thefts . However, she hasn’t served any time as she appealed the term to the circuit court.

Yesterday, Judge O’Donnell said she had used her child “as a form of shield in this particular matter”.

However, after hearing Ms McCarthy has not re-offended, the judge said he was prepared to give her a chance and suspended the four-month term.

The matter first came before Judge O’Donnell in June where he described the “escapade” as “absolutely and utterly reprehensible”. Ms McCarthy had employed her son “not once, but twice” to help her steal two baskets of clothes from Penneys in Ennis.

State solicitor for Clare, Martin Linnane, told the court that on January 6, 2015, Ms McCarthy was seen filling clothes, valued at €248, into a basketand leaving her son to drag it out of the shop. Mr Linnane said Ms McCarthy was seen following her son out and they were at the main shopping centre entrance when stopped by security. The items were returned.

On January 15 Ms McCarthy was arrested for the theft and CCTV found that two days prior to the January 6 theft, Ms McCarthy and her son were involved in a similar incident.

They went undetected that day and the goods were not recovered.

Yesterday, solicitor Tara Godfrey said her client, along with her husband and four children, were homeless at the time of the offences.

Ms Godfrey said the thefts were a feature of terrible difficult circumstances.

Judge O’Donnell warned if Ms McCarthy re-offends over 12 months, he would activate the suspended term.

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