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'appalling' record Woman with over 400 convictions jailed for stealing bag with student's rent


A PROLIFIC thief with more than 400 convictions stole a backpack with rent money from a foreign student who had just arrived in Ireland, a court heard.

Catherine Lambert (46) was jailed for eight months when she admitted the latest series of theft charges.

Describing her record as "appalling", Judge Flann Brennan said the accused had taken considerable amounts of money and some of the offences were committed while she was on bail.

Dublin District Court heard Lambert, of no fixed address, was in Supermacs on O'Connell Street on November 9, 2018, when she approached a Brazilian student.

The woman had left her bag on the ground and Lambert bent down and grabbed it.

The backpack and its contents were worth just under €3,000 and included the victim's passport and €2,800 in cash for an apartment.

The victim had just arrived in Ireland, Garda Sergeant Zita Woods said.

Lambert also admitted other crimes including stealing women's bags while they were out socialising in Dublin city centre.

On September 6, a woman's handbag with her phone, house keys and bank card was stolen in South William Street.

The bank card was used in various shops.

On September 25, another woman was having a meal with a friend in a restaurant on the same street when Lambert stole her bag and contents worth €850.

The handbag was later found discarded in a bin but the debit card was used three times over the course of a number of minutes to make purchases in shops.

Lambert was identified from CCTV footage of these transactions.

The accused had a total of 431 prior convictions, the last of which was in May this year.

She had been remanded in custody since she was arrested in September.

Lambert had been stealing to fund a chronic drug addiction, which she was now trying to deal with in prison, her solicitor said.

She could offer no other excuse and there was no chance of compensation.

Judge Brennan said he had "enormous sympathy" for Lambert's plight but she had an appalling record, the offences were serious and he could not ignore the effect on the victims.

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