‘More interested in drugs than your son’

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A 34-year-old woman who carried out a litany of shoplifting offences to fund her drug habit was given suspended prison sentences last Thursday at Banbridge Magistrates Court.

She was Shanice Amy Mulready, who address was given as Railway Street, Banbridge.

The court heard that on July 5 last year she went into Walsh’s Newsagents in Scarva Street, Banbridge, and stole a packet of Mayfair king size cigarettes.

She put them under her arm and left without making any attempt to pay for them. She was detected through CCTV.

On August 12 last year she stole items valued at £20.95 from the Poundstretcher store in Banbridge and assaulted a staff member.

When she left the store with a number of items she was challenged by the store manager.

Mulready threatened to spit at and kick the member of staff.

When interviewed by police she denied the offence but later admitted it was her on the CCTV.

The following day, August 13, she stole items valued at £85.88 from McKeever’s Chemists in Newry.

She went in with a male and when he went to collect a prescription she lifted items and put them in a bag.

Police immediately recognised her from the CCTV footage.

On August 15 she stole a teddy bear, candles, wall stickers and a cushion cover from Poundland.

She put the items into a plastic bag and at the check out asked for a plastic bag.

She put her bag into the plastic bag and walked out of the store.

Mulready was challenged by the store manager and at no point did she make any effort to pay for the items.

Initially she denied the offence but when shown the CCTV she made an admission.

She said this was during a bad time of her life when drugs were affecting her behaviour.

A barrister representing the defendant said she had received a suspended sentence in January and these offences pre-dated that conviction.

He explained she had been in a relationship at the time with a late Mr Thompson and was now living in Lisburn.

The barrister added that she has a child who stays with her mother in Drogheda and she intended to return there.

He said she had a litany of convictions for shoplifting during the short period she lived in Banbridge when she had a long standing drug problem.

She had taken some steps to address her lifestyle.

The lawyer added that since she moved to Banbridge in 2015 and started a relationship with Mr Thompson because of taking drugs she had spent a period of time in custody.

District Judge Eamonn King pointed out that Mulready had 19 shoplifting convictions.

He told her that she had left her young son in Drogheda and moved up north where she began abusing drugs and shoplifted to fuel that habit.

Unfortunately you were in bad company, continued the judge, and you can nowsee the outcome of the use of drugs.

He added that if she wanted to continue to abuse drugs she could end up like her partner.

“How do you think your son feels that his mother is more interested in drugs than in him,” said Judge King. “The best thing you can do it to return to Drogheda and re-kindle the relationship with your son.”

For each of the offences he imposed a four month prison sentence which he suspended for two years.