Pregnant woman sentenced to jail for doing 'criminal damage' to a can of Pringles
A pregnant woman from Ireland has been sentenced to jail for a period of two months, all for opening a can of Pringles. Kathleen McDonagh, who is 25 years old and hails from Cork, pleaded guilty to criminal damage on the snack at a Tesco near her home, in an incident that took place back in December of 2016.
At Cork District Court, Inspector Ronan Kennelly told Judge Brian O'Shea McDonagh was banned from that particular Tesco at the time of the offence, due to her previous behaviour. However, she went in to the supermarket and picked up a tube of Pringles worth €1.50 (around £1.30).
Once she had her snack, McDonagh then proceeded to queue up at the self service section. Inspector Kenneally reported that staff noticed McDonagh at the self-service machine, and approached her, asking her to leave the store. But before they got to her, she popped open the can of Pringles, believing it would help to keep her in the Tesco.
Inspector Kennelly said to the court thatDonagh - who has 31 previous convictions - then removed the foil top off the can:
"As the security officers approached her she opened the Pringles and removed the foil top and she said, 'I opened it so you have to let me pay for it' ….. it was not fit for resale with a loss of €1.50 – she said wanted to buy the Pringles but she had no permission to be in the store."
The court heard that Kathleen McDonagh's had several previous offences on her books, including 14 convictions for theft, as well as two further convictions for criminal damage. She has also convictions for handling stolen property.
Shane Collins Daly, who was representing McDonagh, said that his client was a hairdressing student who is currently working for her mother, and he also appealed for leniency in the case on the grounds that the 25-year-old was five months pregnant, not to mention that she was a newly married at the time.
Daly also asked that McDonagh's sentencing be more lenient, arguing that her guilty plea should be taken into account. Cork District Court heard that she suffered from issues relating to anxiety in the past.
In sentencing Kathleen McDonagh, Judge O'Shea admitted that, taken out of context, McDonagh's Pringles-related incident was probably one of her least serious offences, and didn't warrant anything serious on its own. But with McDonagh's previous offences taken into account, not to mention the background of the situation, Judge O'Shea saw fit to sentence her to two months in prison.
In sentencing McDonagh to prison said it was difficult to view the offence as anything other than "smart Alec" behaviour. He said that Kathleen McDonagh had been given the benefit of suspended sentences in the past, but thought that they didn't appear to work for her.
He jailed her four months, suspending the last two months of the sentence.