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71-year-old convicted of stealing mobile phone from Armagh hotel after being caught on CCTV

Defendant, who contested the charge, had told court: 'I can be very forgetful, I had electric shock treatment when I was younger'

Armagh City Hotel

An Armagh woman who stole another woman’s phone from a local hotel has been fined £300.

CCTV showed the 71-year-old, with no relevant entries on her record, take the mobile as it was left on charge in the hotel lobby.

Brigid McParland, of Edward Street, contested a single charge of theft at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

All evidence was agreed in the case with the court being shown CCTV footage of the incident.

The theft occurred on May 6, of last year, in the Armagh City Hotel shortly before midnight.

The injured party watched the footage and confirmed it showed her putting her iPhone on charge in the lobby.

Court heard that when spoken to about the offence McParland claimed she would not have been at the hotel at the time of the offence as she did not feel well and had gone home early.

However, she later confirmed to police that it was indeed herself in the footage.

It showed the defendant sit on a chair in the lobby beside the mobile, before lifting it.

McParland also claimed that she had been given a lift home by her partner. This too was accepted as being false after she was shown CCTV of outside, which showed her getting into a taxi.

When questioned in the witness stand by the prosecuting barrister, Natasha Fitzsimons, the defendant stated: “I worked in the council for years and I never took anything.”

Addressing the inconsistencies in her story, McParland said: “I can be very forgetful, I had electric shock treatment when I was younger.”

Ms Fitzsimons put it to the defendant that CCTV showed her lift the phone with her right hand and into her left hand where she “concealed it behind her purse”.

McParland denied this, claiming that she had not taken the mobile.

She confirmed to District Judge Nigel Broderic, that she had worked in tourism for 15 years with the council and had received electric shock treatment when she was in her twenties.

District Judge Broderick stated: “The CCTV is quite crucial in the case, for whatever reason the defendant stole that phone, she may not accept this but the footage clearly shows it.

“It proves it without a reasonable doubt, even if it is not accepted.”

Court heard the defendant had a clear record other than one previous historical conviction for a road traffic offence.

District Judge Broderick commented: “It is somewhat unusual for someone to reach the age of 71 with no prior offences to be before the court.

“What aggravates this is that she contested the case in the face of the evidence before her.”

McParland was ordered to compensation of £165 to the injured party and a fine of £300, along with the offender’s levy of £15.

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