Court hears Ballymena shoplifter has ‘diagnosis of kleptomania’

Ballymena Magistrates Court

A SOLICITOR for a Ballymena woman who has admitted a series of shoplifting incidents said she was diagnosed with “kleptomania”.

The comments were made as Leanne Williamson (36), of Burma Place, appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court.

She admitted stealing £165.79 worth of goods from TK Maxx in April; fragrances worth £226 from Boots in the Tower Centre on August 5 and items worth £126.25 from Tesco on August 13 this year.

Noting the defendant had 16 previous convictions, District Judge Nigel Broderick asked if she was a “professional shoplifter” but the defence solicitor said she wasn’t and didn’t appear to be doing it for “any financial gain” and had a “diagnosis of kleptomania”.

The defence lawyer said the defendant had a number of complex mental health issues and was addicted to codeine.

The judge wondered why she had been stealing high value items.

The defence lawyer claimed the items taken were not of any interest to the defendant.

Judge Broderick wondered how him telling Williamson not to re-offend would have any impact regarding her diagnosis but the defence lawyer said it would help drive home the message to her.

The judge put the defendant on Probation for a year and also deferred sentencing to next April with a conditions that Williamson must engage positively with Probation and not shoplift and warned her that if she failed she could go to jail.

At the same court, Joanna Boyd (29), of Glenshesk Drive in Ballymena, pleaded guilty to charges of stealing fragrances worth £226 on August 5 and goods worth £36 from Poundland in the Tower Centre in Ballymena.

Her case was adjourned to the end of November for a pre-sentence report.

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