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prolific Dublin woman with record of 696 convictions tells judge 'it could be worse'

Jennifer Armstrong (49) said she had "at least tried" to help herself by kicking the addictions behind her offending

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Jennifer Armstrong pleaded guilty to ‘an assortment of charges’

Jennifer Armstrong pleaded guilty to ‘an assortment of charges’

Jennifer Armstrong pleaded guilty to ‘an assortment of charges’

One of Ireland's most prolific petty criminals, with a record of 696 convictions, has told a judge "it could be worse".

Jennifer Armstrong (49) said she had "at least tried" to help herself by kicking the addictions behind her offending.

She appeared in Dublin District Court on an "assortment" of theft and public order charges.

Judge Marie Quirke adjourned the case for a probation report after hearing that while Armstrong was off heroin and crack, she still had an "awful problem with the drink."

Armstrong, with an address at Harcourt Street, Dublin, has one of the longest criminal records ever in this country.

A garda sergeant said the "large assortment" of charges before the court were for public order or theft offences - "more often than not" stealing alcohol and being abusive.

Armstrong pleaded guilty.

The sergeant said the previous convictions included 18 for assault and 260 public order offences.

Of these, more than 140 were for breach of the peace. There were more than 100 for theft.

Armstrong had an "awful problem with the drink" since around 2000 and was trying to get on a Librium course - which treats alcohol withdrawal - her solicitor said.

"Whatever I had to do to help myself, I done," Armstrong said, telling the court she had got off drugs but fell back into addiction to alcohol.

"I have a very bad addiction but at least I'm trying," Armstrong said. "It could be worse."

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The judge said the accused had an addictive personality but Armstrong said "at least I tried to help myself."

"You will end up killing yourself," the judge warned.

Armstrong "served 30 years in prison," having been in and out of jail since her teens.

"Every friend I ever had I lost in prison," she said.

The judge noted the accused had a tendency to be abusive and violent with drink.

She told her to co-operate with the probation service.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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