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Shoplifter avoids jails because she’s pregnant

AN ENNISKILLEN woman has avoided being sent to prison as she is over five months pregnant.
Caroline McDonagh (27) of Derrin Park appeared at Enniskillen Magistrates Court on Monday for sentencing on three counts of theft, in relation to two separate incidents. One at Sports Direct in October last, and a second at Harry and George in Enniskillen last June.
A second woman, Margaret Reilly (42) of Main Street, Lisnaskea, was also charged with theft in relation to the Harry and George incident under the principle of joint enterprise.
The court was told that on October 26 police received a report of theft from Sports Direct in Enniskillen. A woman had gone into the shop using the side door.
She was seen by staff and filmed on CCTV taking a bag and removing a large quantity of clothes out through the side door, bit by bit.
When arrested McDonagh gave a no comment interview. Police searched her flat and found clothing, security tags and labels. Some of the clothes still had a security tag attached.
The Harry and George theft took place on June 15th, when a dress valued at £165 was taken from the shop.
Staff told police two women, who had a child with them, had been in the shop when the dress was taken.
One of the staff members from the shop later recognised one of the women while on a bus. They contacted police who stopped the bus in Lisnaskea and arrested the suspects.
Defence barrister Stefan Rafferty said Reilly, a mother of five, had later apologised for the Harry and George theft and offered to pay for the dress.
District Judge Michael Ranaghan fined Reilly, who had one previous conviction for theft, £175.
With regard to McDonagh, who had a record of similar previous offences and is subject to suspended sentences, Mr Rafferty said the defendant was five-and-a-half months pregnant and asked for sentencing to be deferred until after her baby was born.
He said this could also give McDonagh a chance to stay out of trouble.
District Judge Michael Ranaghan said he didn’t want to send a pregnant woman to prison, but he did not want to give credit where it wasn’t due.
As such, he deferred sentencing for five months.
Judge Ranaghan said the appropriate sentence in the case would be five months in prison, and if McDonagh reoffended before the case was back in court that is the minimum sentence she could expect to get.

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