A STRADBALLY woman with an appalling criminal record who robbed a shop armed with a knife she had previously bought from the very same store has been given a suspended sentence at the Circuit Court in Portlaoise.
Michelle Daly, previously with a Stradbally address but now living in Bray, Co Wicklow, was appealing an eight-month sentence she was given at the District Court for committing the robbery at Bits ‘n’ Bobs, Patrick Street, Mountmellick, on December 2, 2011.
Sgt James Phelan, led by State solicitor, Mr Donal Dunne, gave evidence that Daly bought knives in the shop and later returned armed with one of them, which she used to threaten the shop assistant. Daly made off with the contents of the till, which was around €90.
There was also a conviction for theft from Dunnes Stores in Portlaoise on August 29 last year. Daly left the store without paying for clothes valued at €78, including two pairs of jeans, a shirt and a hooded top. She was later apprehended on Main Street.
Daly has 33 previous convictions, including 24 for theft.
Defence, Mr Niall Flynn said that Daly had suffered from a chronic drug habit, having started heroin at 13. He said she is now on 90mg of methadone and she realises she has to take responsibilty for her actions.
Mr Flynn said Daly had brought €100 compensation to court, which was the maximum sum she could offer as she was on social welfare.
Judge Gerard Griffen remarked that Daly was only 26 and had an appalling criminal record. He said that she had pleaded guilty to an indictable crime, one which had she been tried before a judge and jury could have earned her up to 14 years in jail. The judge said that knife crime deserves a custodial sentence, however he noted that Daly “appears to be attempting to turn her life around”.
Judge Griffen increased the original District Court sentence to 12 months, but he suspended this for three years on condition that Daly keep the peace on her own bond of €100. He said that if she appeared before him again, he would have no hesitation in imposing the suspended sentence with a further 12 months consecutive, bringing her total to 24 months.
“You don’t want to see me again,” Judge Griffen warned.