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Mum-of-six threatened to bite woman she was robbing

Mum-of-six threatened to bite woman she was robbing

A mother-of-six who tried to rob a woman's handbag and threatened to bite her as she was cycling home with her grocery shopping has been jailed for one year.

Michelle O'Leary (33) said she had been “clattered” by her then boyfriend and put under pressure to carry out the offence.

O'Leary, of St Patrick's Court, Phibsborough, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to attempted robbery at Clare Hall Avenue, Dublin 17 on February 6, 2016.

She has 39 previous convictions.

Judge Karen O'Connor previously adjourned sentencing to see if there was a bed available in residential drug treatment.

Today the court heard there was no bed available. Judge O'Connor handed down a three-year sentence but suspended the last two years on a number of conditions.

She accepted O'Leary had a serious drug addiction, had made efforts to reduce her methadone intake while in custody and was remorseful for her actions that day.

The court rose briefly after a female supporter of O'Leary started shouting abuse at the judge.

“You're supposed to send her to a drug unit!” the woman called out.

“What kind of a judge is that? F***ing wanker.”

The woman then left court, which resumed shortly afterwards.

Garda Jason Flynn previously told Maurice Coffey BL, prosecuting, that the victim, a woman in her early fifties, was cycling home with her grocery shopping on her right handle bar and her bag on her left handlebar. She described a girl running towards her and making a grab at her handbag.

O'Leary grabbed the bag but the victim would not let go. The woman ended up on the ground with O'Leary standing over her. O'Leary then said: “Let go or I will bite you.”

Passers-by came to the woman's aid and a bus driver pulled O'Leary away. She was held at the scene until gardaí arrived.

The injured party, who did not complete a victim impact statement, said at the time that she got a “massive fright” and did not think anyone would come to her aid but she was grateful that they did.

O'Leary was arrested and initially gave a false name to gardaí but later made full admissions. She said she had been pressured into committing the offence. She told gardaí she had been in a car with her then boyfriend who had “clattered” her in the face and picked out the woman as a target.

She said she was “deeply sorry” and that any money was going to be handed over to the man.

Defence counsel, Brian Storan BL, said O'Leary had been a heroin addict but was addressing the issue and had reduced her methadone use significantly.

He said O'Leary had a difficult background and was currently having a hard time in custody.

He submitted she had expressed remorse at the scene as well as afterwards and that she was making significant progress in relation to her drug use.