Woman jailed for theft of diamond ring worth over €12,000

Galway Daily courts Man charged with possessing images of child sex abuse
credit: Robert Linsdell CC BY 2.0 'The Courthouse, Courthouse Square, Galway'

A woman has been jailed for six months months for the theft of a diamond ring worth €12,800.

Bernadette McDonagh Lee (35), of St. Francis Street, Edenderry, Offaly pleaded guilty to stealing the diamond ring from Tempo Antiques on Cross Street in 2017.

The theft on August 10, 2017 was caught on cctv and became the subject of a televised appeal on RTE Crimecall.

After pleading guilty at her last appearance before Galway District Court, Mrs McDonagh was back for a report to see if she was suitable for community service in lieu of jail time.

Speaking for the defence barrister Garry McDonald said that McDonagh would have difficulty performing community service as she had to care for a very young child and her ill partner on top of having health difficulties of her own.

He added that the diamond ring was recovered and that “nobody was at a loss” after this crime.

Mr McDonald said this was an impulsive crime and that the defendant has no previous criminal record.

However the prosecuting gardaí disputed his claim that the ring was recovered “immediately”, but was instead only recovered after a televised appeal.

Judge Mary Fahy said that a theft of this value wouldn’t normally even be in the District Court, but that she accepted jurisdiction on the basis of a plea.

She added that McDonagh was offered the chance not to serve jail time by doing community service and that “she’s throwing that chance back in the court’s face”.

Judge Fahy imposed a six month prison sentence, rejecting an appeal by the defence for the sentence to be suspended.

She said that Mrs McDonagh had dealt with the issue “as if it were the theft of a packet of frozen peas”.