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28 Jun 2022

Tipperary woman given five-month suspended sentence for theft of mare and foal

Tipperary woman given five-month suspended sentence for theft of mare and foal

Tipperary woman given five-month suspended sentence for theft of mare and foal

A woman who stole a mare and foal has been given a five-month suspended jail term by Nenagh District Court.

Valerie O’Shea of Gurtagarry, Templederry, had pleaded at an earlier court in 2021 to the theft of the animals at Gurtagarry on a date between June 1, 2018, and February 10, 2019.

The case had been adjourned to allow her pay compensation of €1,000, which, the court was told last Friday, had been done.

Judge Elizabeth MacGrath jailed Ms O’Shea for five months for theft, but suspended it for two years in Ms O’Shea’s own bond of €500.

The judge noted that the owners had put the value of the horses at 20 times the amount of the compensation paid.

The case had been before the court last October when Judge MacGrath read a victim personal statement from the owners, following which she said that the theft must have had a “terrible effect” on the injured party’s children.

The court heard that the owners had valued the mare at €12,000 and the foal at €8,000.

However, solicitor Elizabeth McKeever, for Ms O’Shea had said that this was disputed by her client.

The values had been given by the person from whom the animals had been stolen, she told the court in October.

Ms O’Shea had maintained that the actual values of the animals were “much lower”.

After reading the victim personal statement, the judge stated in October that the theft of the animals “had a terrible effect on the the injured party’s children”.

“No money is going to compensate the children for the loss of the horses they loved and that’s the real issue here in the victim personal statement,” she had said.

Ms McKeever had submitted that there was no way the court could assess the veracity of the statement, but the judge had replied she would have to take what the injured party had stated in it into account.

“It’s not an unreasonable assessment that if the horses were with the family for some time that the children would be fond of them. I need to consider a custodial sentence,” the judge had said.

Ms McKeever had urged that this would not be the case as Ms O’Shea had no previous convictions and had a difficult background.

Asked by Judge McGrath about the prospect of financial compensation for the loss of the animals, Ms McKeever had said her client had told her she could have €500 by December. She was working but had a very low income.

Judge MacGrath had adjourned the case to February 24, ordering that Ms O’Shea have €1,000 compensation on that date. It was then adjourned to last Friday.

“If she comes up with that amount I am going to take the view that a custodial sentence is appropriate, but I will suspend it,” Judge MacGrath had said in October.

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