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Accused tested for Kleptomania

Mum in custody on shoplifting charges sold stolen goods on online auction site, court told

By Nevin Farrell

A woman accused of habitual shoplifting and then selling the items on eBay was examined to see if she was a kleptomaniac.

Mum-of-four Deirdre Anne McKeown (49), of Skerry Road East in Newtowncrommelin between Ballymena and Cushendall, allegedly had £48,000 in a PayPal account from her activities, a court has heard.

She appeared in the dock at Ballymena Magistrates Court charged with several counts of theft, attempted theft and handling stolen goods.

The charges relate to the theft of Lego worth £200 from a store in Ballymena and items from a shop in Broughshane.

She is further charged with handling stolen goods including children’s toys, clothing, beauty products, carbon monoxide alarms and telephones.

The defendant is also charged with possessing, concealing and transferring criminal property.

She is further charged with having a Dream Box digital TV receiver for use in connection with fraud and a number of driving offences.

Defence barrister Aaron Thompson said his client has four children including three adults and one teenage boy still living with her at home. A daughter was in court.

Mr Thompson said a medical report was acquired to see if kleptomania was an issue with his client “but that was negative”.

He said the police’s reducing offending unit in Ballymena have visited McKeown. A police officer told the court the accused was selling stolen items on eBay and also that police considered that McKeown needed to be kept out of shops altogether because of theft issues.

Mr Thompson said the allegation is that his client is stealing property and selling it on the internet and he said it is a “very difficult case because there is a lot of background health and family issues”.

District judge Des Perry refused bail but said McKeown’s daughter could be allowed to see her in the cells.

Mr Perry told McKeown that last year she was granted bail in a similar case but things have now “got completely out of control” and said there was no chance of him allowing her out because the “risk of reoffending is massive”.

At Londonderry Magistrates Court last year she was charged with stealing diet pills worth more than £1,000 from a retailer.

Bail conditions imposed on McKeown in that case banned her from any shop including any supermarket or retail shopping park except a local food store and pharmacy.

She was also only permitted to travel in a private car with an approved person and was banned from using any mobile phone or computer.

Judge Perry remanded McKeown in custody to Hydebank Prison and adjourned the Londonderry-related matters to the court in Derry on June 2 and the new recent charges to June 23 in Ballymena via video link.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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