LongWalk Shopping Centre in Dundalk
A heroin addict who snatched a woman’s handbag in a local shopping centre car park to feed her drug habit, has been jailed for 18 months at Dundalk Circuit Court for robbery.
Judge Michael O’Shea was told that Grace Flanagan (30) with an address at the time at Clontygora Court, Dundalk had denied taking the bag when the woman approached her and asked her to give it back.
The victim had just finished putting shopping into the boot of her car at the Long Walk Shopping Centre and was putting on her seat belt, when a back door opened and the accused asked her for a Euro.
The woman said nothing and when Grace Flanagan snatched her handbag, which was between the two front seats, she grabbed the strap and held on.
The victim was caught up in her seat belt initially but the defendant pulled her into the back seat, as she maintained her grip on the strap of the bag.
When she climbed out, she saw the accused ducking down behind a vehicle two cars away and Grace Flanagan replied:
“It wasn’t me – it was her” when the woman asked for her bag back although it was hidden up her jumper.
The defendant eventually dropped it and left through the main exit of the car park when a man also told her to give the bag back.
Nothing was missing and the victim – who was shaken in the immediate aftermath, suffered bruising to her arms and elbows.
Grace Flanagan has 51 previous convictions and while she made no comment, or made occasional denies during her Garda interview, she was easily identifiable on CCTV footage.
The Defence barrister described it as a theft that escalated to a robbery and said his client is now on a methadone treatment programme and has engaged with psychiatric services in terms of mental health issues.
Judge Michael O’Shea imposed a two and a half year sentence with the last 12 months suspended on her entering a bond to be of good behaviour for a year after her release.
The sentence was backdated to August 31st last, when the accused went into custody.