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'Despicable' Woman stole new mum’s baby clothes and bank card while victim was giving birth

Stacey Fitzgerald (31) snatched the bag when the woman was taken for an operation to deliver her child at Dublin's Rotunda Hospital, then ran up bills on her card at nearby shops.

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Stacey Fitzgerald, 31yrs, with an address at a B&B in Gardiner Street in Dublin

Stacey Fitzgerald, 31yrs, with an address at a B&B in Gardiner Street in Dublin

Stacey Fitzgerald, 31yrs, with an address at a B&B in Gardiner Street in Dublin

A MOTHER-to-be stole another new mum’s overnight bag containing her baby clothes and bank card in a "despicable" crime while the victim was giving birth at a maternity hospital.

Stacey Fitzgerald (31) snatched the bag when the woman was taken for an operation to deliver her child at Dublin's Rotunda Hospital, then ran up bills on her card at nearby shops.

After the birth, the victim began receiving texts from her bank about the fraudulent transactions.

Judge Bryan Smyth warned Fitzgerald she was likely facing jail and adjourned the case for a probation report and a victim impact statement.

Fitzgerald, with an address at a B&B on Gardiner Street, Dublin, pleaded guilty to stealing the bag on September 10 last year.

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Stacey Fitzgerald (31), outside Dublin District Court. Photo: Paddy Cummins/IrishPhotoDesk.ie

Stacey Fitzgerald (31), outside Dublin District Court. Photo: Paddy Cummins/IrishPhotoDesk.ie

Stacey Fitzgerald (31), outside Dublin District Court. Photo: Paddy Cummins/IrishPhotoDesk.ie

She also admitted theft and attempted theft at a number of north inner city shops on the same date.

Dublin District Court heard Fitzgerald was an in-patient in the Rotunda and the victim was staying in the same ward prior to being taken for an operation to have her baby delivered.

The victim left her overnight bag in the ward, containing personal items including her clothing, clothes for the new baby and a phone charger, Garda Sergeant Maire McDevitt said.

After the birth, the victim began receiving text messages from her bank about possible fraudulent transactions on her account. Her partner returned to the ward and discovered the bag was missing.

CCTV footage showed Fitzgerald and another person removing the bag from the ward, Sgt McDevitt said.

There was further CCTV evidence from Spar on Gardiner Street which showed the accused using the victim's bank card in a fraudulent transaction.

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The court heard there were several thefts and attempted thefts as Fitzgerald “tapped” at shops with the card. The successful transactions totalled €165. The total value of the bag and contents was €350.

A search was carried out at the accused’s address where a number of the stolen items were found, Sgt McDevitt said.

Fitzgerald made admissions when questioned. She had previous convictions for theft.

Defence solicitor Paddy McGarry asked Judge Smyth to order a probation report, which he said would be helpful to the court in setting out Fitzgerald’s full background.

The judge said the case would have to be adjourned for victim impact evidence anyway and it was a “despicable offence”.

“Given the nature of the facts and what has been outlined in court here, I think she is probably looking at a sentence,” the judge said. “Irrespective of what is contained in the report, she is likely getting a sentence.”

Fitzgerald “understands it is very serious,” Mr McGarry said.

The judge asked what business the accused had in the Rotunda on the day.

“She was having a child as well,” Mr McGarry said.

The case was adjourned to April.

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