Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland police sergeant who shoplifted from Asda jailed for six months

By Staff Reporter

A PSNI sergeant has been sentenced to total of six months in custody after her convictions for shoplifting.

Last night, the PSNI said Linda Totten (50) remains suspended from duty and a misconduct hearing will take place in the coming weeks.

It is understood that Totten is no longer in receipt of a PSNI salary.

"The PSNI expects all staff to behave professionally, ethically and with the utmost integrity at all times. The actions in this case have fallen far short of that standard," a spokesman said.

"We will be making no further comment prior to the conclusion of that process."

Totten arrived at court for sentencing yesterday on a mobility scooter and with her face obscured.

Totten, with an address given as PSNI Enniskillen, was convicted of two counts of shoplifting just before Christmas in 2013.

During the first, on December 20, an unknown quantity of goods were stolen and in the second, four days later, a trolleyload of items totalling £156.81 were taken.

On both occasions Totten targeted the Asda store in Enniskillen, returning for the second spree despite claims of being abused by staff in the first incident.

The case did not reach trial until October 2017, and Totten was suspended from duty for most of that time.

She remained a serving officer until the guilty verdicts in November 2017, when she was met at the door of the court dock by senior police who demanded she hand over her warrant card.

Her first trial lasted nine days and resulted in a hung jury. A retrial which was heard almost immediately, ran for seven days, ending in a unanimous guilty verdict.

Appearing for sentencing at Dungannon Crown Court sitting in Armagh, Totten was escorted in supported by custody staff, walking very slowly to the dock.

His Honour Judge Neil Rafferty asked the defence: "Your client seems to be in a somewhat different state to before. What has happened?"

The defence replied, Totten has been bedridden since the previous weekend, but obtained a mobility scooter "such was her determination to attend court".

Nothing was said of Totten's arrest last Wednesday for another alleged episode of shoplifting in an Enniskillen store. She has been released on bail pending further enquiries in this matter.

Her defence pointed out that whilst reinstated with the PSNI last year, Totten is "facing imminent disciplinary proceedings. Her livelihood and reputation are completely at an end".

The defence continued that Totten's health is poor, particularly in relation to mobility. He told the judge: "This can fluctuate. You will be aware during trial she often presented as mobile."

Judge Rafferty replied: "Quite mobile. I was simply shocked to the core to see the state she arrived in court today."

The judge said the thefts showed "a degree of sophistication, pre-meditation and brazenness".

"In the first trial the defendant made the most scandalous accusations against Asda staff. She alleged they were homophobic, bigoted, prejudiced and racist.

"She suggested the actions of staff were motivated by malice. Those allegations have no basis whatsoever."

He said the shoplifting was "pre-planned and with a high degree of cunning." Totten was sentenced to three months custody on each of two counts.

Belfast Telegraph

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