A WOMAN with 169 previous convictions who stole goods valued at almost £1,000 in a series of shoplifting raids wept as she was jailed for a year.
Kelly Louise McKee (27), whose address was given as no fixed abode in Ballymena appeared at the town’s Magistrates Court on Thursday via video link from Hydebank Prison and pleaded guilty to five counts of theft.
The thefts were: £94.40 worth of alcohol from the Co-op at Broughshane Street in Ballymena on September 1; electrical items worth £274 from Tesco on September 9; electrical items from Tesco worth £411.25 on September 11; meat products worth £100.88 from Spar at Larne Road in Ballymena on September 13 and meat products worth £70 from Spar on October 2.
The total value of items taken was £950.
Defence barrister Aaron Thompson said McKee “got hooked on Class A drugs at a very very young age”.
He said a number of her family members often appear in court.
Mr Thompson said McKee had a “pernicious drug habit” and said there had been a period of time when she “did brilliantly for several months” but then effectively went missing.
He described McKee as “very vulnerable” and asked District Judge Nigel Broderick to defer sentencing.
Jailing her for a year the judge said he believed McKee’s lifestyle was “so volatile” that if he let her out of jail it was “almost inevitable” that she would re-offend.
He said the defendant faced “many demons”.
The defendant had bail set in the sum of £500 fixed for appeal but the judge said she was to stay in custody until the hearing as the risk of further offending was “so high”.