Belfast Telegraph

'Kleptomaniac' Belfast grandmother who stole £800 worth of jeans jailed

Mary McGahey appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court on Thursday (Niall Carson/PA)
Mary McGahey appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court on Thursday (Niall Carson/PA)

By Alan Erwin

A grandmother has been jailed for stealing more than £800 worth of jeans is a kleptomaniac, a court has heard.

Mary McGahey's lawyer said she only carried out the thefts at fashion stores in Belfast after coming off medication to stop her urges.

The 37-year-old, who has 61 previous convictions for thieving, was given a five-month prison sentence.

McGahey, of Springfield Road in the city, admitted targeting two retailers in the Boucher area earlier this year.

On March 29 she went into Topshop, removed security tags from 11 pairs of jeans valued at £426 and left without paying.

Just over two weeks later she targeted a nearby Outfit store, taking 10 pairs of jeans worth £400.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard none of the stock was ever recovered.

Defence solicitor Pearse MacDermott said his client doesn't know what she did with the clothing.

He accepted McGahey's "bad record for dishonesty" and claimed she had been used in the past to steal for others.

"She has been diagnosed with kleptomania, it's the first time I have seen it," the lawyer disclosed.

Mr MacDermott told the court McGahey was on a course of treatment and counselling which appeared to be working.

"These offences occurred in March and April when she was off her medication," he added.

District Judge Peter Magill expressed "grave doubts" about her claims to know nothing about what happened to the jeans.

Citing McGahey's prior record, he said: "This would appear simply to be theft for gain."

Based on her guilty pleas Mr Magill imposed five months imprisonment.

He then agreed to release her on bail pending an appeal against sentence.

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