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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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Broke Barrow mother shoplifted for ‘birthday gift’

A BROKE mum who stole shoes and clothes said she wanted to get her daughter a birthday present.

Sally McDonnell, aged 39, of Harrison Street, Barrow, pleaded guilty to shoplifting at Furness Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

The court heard McDonnell stole clothes and black high heels worth £62.29 from Debenhams in Portland Walk, on April 5.

She was spotted on CCTV by a member of staff putting the items into a bag and leaving the shop without paying.

She handed herself in to police several days later with her solicitor Mrs Maureen Fawcett, and told police she felt “awful” about the incident.

Mrs Fawcett told the court: “She explained at the time she had just left an abusive relationship with a man who is well known to the court, and she had struggled to get out of that relationship. She has fallen back into that relationship again and again, but this time she has stayed away.”

The court heard leaving the relationship had a “serious financial effect” on McDonnell because her benefits were on condition of her living at the address she shared with her former partner.

Mrs Fawcett said: “She was in a situation where she found she didn’t have any money, her benefits weren’t sorted out.

“It was her daughter’s 18th birthday and she didn’t have any money to get her anything.”

The court heard the defendant had promised to pay back the value of the items when her benefits were sorted.

Presiding magistrate Dr Raj Rathi, said he had concerns about punishing the defendant with a financial penalty because she had outstanding court fines of more than £500, and had not made a payment since December.

He said: “The court is very reluctantly giving you one more chance. This is the most lenient sentence we could have done.”

She was given a conditional discharge for six months and ordered to pay court costs of £80, a victim surcharge of £15 and £62 compensation to Debenhams.

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