Heroin addict bag thief gets temporary bail for mother's funeral
A heroin addict who stole a bag containing £6,000 from a 72-year old woman had an application for bail refused yesterday - but was released temporarily to attend her mother's funeral.
Pauline Ferrin, from Estoril Park in Belfast, was arrested on February 19 after following the pensioner from a Belfast bank where she made the cash withdrawal. After stealing the bag from the woman in the Millfield area of the city centre, Ferrin (20) was arrested and was previously bailed.
During an application for bail in the High Court, Mr Justice Horner was told police were objecting to Ferrin's release as there have been "multiple breaches" including failing to attend a heroin replacement programme, failing to reside at her bail address, and taking an overdose in an alleyway in an area of Belfast she was barred from entering.
Crown prosecutor Mark Farrell said that when she was arrested for the theft, she told police she was sorry and said a man called Mark made her do it.
Ferrin also told police 'Mark' watched the woman withdraw the cash, told Ferrin to follow the pensioner through CastleCourt and steal the bag, and that her 'reward' would be an 'eighth' of heroin.
Telling the court Ferrin "clearly lives a chaotic lifestyle", Mr Farrell said that since being granted bail on February 26, Ferrin has been "given opportunities and second chances" by several judges, despite numerous breaches.
She is currently back in Hydebank due to these breaches, and failures to attend court.
Asking for her release, a defence lawyer said Ferrin's mother died on Sunday from alcohol-related problems and is being buried on Thursday.
At this point, the Crown barrister said there would be no objection to her being granted a day's compassionate bail to attend the funeral - as long as she was accompanied at all times by a suitable chaperone.
Mr Justice Horner said that whilst he sympathised with Ferrin over the death of her mother, he said: "This woman is a heroin addict, and no matter what conditions are imposed, she is going to breach them. She has been given innumerable opportunities.
"If she had followed the conditions imposed in February, we wouldn't be here and she would be in a far better place."
Mr Justice Horner refused to grant full bail, but allowed her released from 8am to 4pm on Thursday to attend the funeral.
He also banned Ferrin from consuming drink or drugs.