A woman who stole up to €2,000 worth of property in 18 separate shoplifting offences at stores in Cork City should get an automatic jail sentence but the judge said he was impressed by the significant efforts she had made to turn her life around.
Sergeant Pat Lyons said 42-year-old Amanda Sheehan was before Cork District Court for sentencing for 18 thefts, one of having a knife and four counts of failing to appear before the court.
The stolen goods amounted to almost €2,000 worth of property. So far, about €1,500 has been either repaid or recovered.
Sgt Lyons said the thefts were all from commercial premises in Cork City, mainly in 2019 and 2020.
Shoplifting offences were carried out by Amanda Sheehan at stores including Eason’s, Lidl, Boots, TK Maxx, Dunnes and Debenham’s.
When arrested in connection with one of those thefts, a knife was found in her possession during a routine search.
The court heard that what caused her to get involved in these thefts was her addiction to heroin which was so severe that she ended up living on the streets for a period.
“It was during that period that the knife was found on her. She was in the throes of addiction and was in and out of accommodation.
“A woman living alone on the streets is subject to constant unwanted attention from people.
“Obviously, it is against the law to be in possession of a knife but one could understand why she would have something on her for her own protection.
“She managed to break free of the yoke of heroin and got on to methadone and now she is off that as well,” her defence solicitor said.
Judge Olann Kelleher noted the accused had come quite a long way.
Amanda Sheehan said she had been working for the past two months and this was her first time working in 15 years.
Judge Kelleher said: “It appears she has turned things around somewhat. I would like a probation report for two months’ time. This would automatically be jail in a normal situation but you have come a long way.
“I have to balance that out with the people who have lost money. If that [the remaining figure of €500 approximately] is not paid in two months it will be jail.
“You are entitled to get a chance but it is up to you to prove it.”