New mum who stole bag and bank card from woman giving birth in Dublin hospital avoids jail

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The accused and her victim were at the time patients at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin.

Stacey Fitzgerald (31) snatched the bag when the woman was taken in for surgery to deliver her child, then piled up bills on the victim’s card at nearby shops in what a court ruled a crime “despicable”.

The accused and her victim were at the time patients at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin.

Judge Bryan Smyth said Fitzgerald “may well” deserve jail time, but instead handed him a six-month suspended sentence after reading favorable reports about probation and restorative justice.

The accused, with an address at a B&B on Gardiner Street, Dublin pleaded guilty to stealing the bag on September 10 last year.

She also admitted to stealing and attempting to steal from a number of north downtown stores on the same date.

Fitzgerald’s plea was heard earlier this year and when the case returned to Dublin District Court, the judge said the reports appeared “very positive”.

Defense lawyer Paddy McGarry said the defendant understood this was a very serious offence; she had “positively engaged” with the probation service, made a charitable donation and done whatever the court asked.

The defendant had spoken of being a mother herself, she was ‘really sorry’ and ‘understands the stress and worry it has caused’, Mr McGarry said.

Fitzgerald had developed drug problems when she was 25, mostly crack, and while living in Tallaght she witnessed an attack near her home and ended up on the streets. She was now in a house with her partner and baby.

‘I think it’s a credit to Ms Fitzgerald for the way she handled these issues,’ Judge Smyth said. She “may well deserve a custodial sentence”, he said, but he suspended the sentence for a year.

Earlier the court heard that Fitzgerald was hospitalized at the Rotunda and the victim was staying in the same ward before being taken in for an operation to deliver her baby.

Woman stole new mother’s baby clothes and bank card as victim gave birth

The victim left her travel bag in the ward, containing personal items including her clothes, clothes for the new baby and a phone charger.

After the birth, the victim began to receive text messages from his bank regarding possible fraudulent transactions on his account. Her partner returned to the ward and found the bag was missing.

CCTV footage showed Fitzgerald and another person removing the bag from the venue, the court heard. There was further CCTV evidence from Spar on Gardiner Street which showed the defendant was using the victim’s bank card in a fraudulent transaction.

The court heard there were several thefts and attempted thefts as Fitzgerald “tapped” in stores with the card. Successful transactions amount to €165. The total value of the bag and its contents was €350.

A search was carried out at the accused’s address where a number of stolen items were found.

Co-defendant Laurence Doran (50), residing at the same B&B, pleaded not guilty to stealing the woman’s bag. He is not charged with any other offense and his case is due to be heard next month.

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