Mum locked up for toy shop pram theft
A SERIAL thief has been jailed for stealing from a toy shop – just weeks after a judge spared her from prison.
Mum Verneasha O'Connor was caught on CCTV taking a doll's pram from Smyths Toy Shop in Longton.
The theft came after Judge Paul Glenn had already handed the 39-year-old a suspended sentence for two counts of theft.
During that appearance the court heard how O'Connor, who has 42 previous convictions, had stolen in order to buy food for herself and her son.
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It was also claimed she had enrolled at university and started volunteering in the community.
Now the recovering heroin addict has again appeared before Judge Glenn at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court, where an eight-month suspended sentence handed to her was activated. The judge told O'Connor: "I gave you a chance to sort yourself out and unfortunately you have chosen, as you so often do, when the going gets tough to disregard the court's order."
Fiona Cortese, prosecuting, said O'Connor had approached a worker at Smyths at about 2.15pm on November 11 to ask where the doll's prams were kept.
Miss Cortese said: "He was later alerted by a customer to some suspicious activity and CCTV showed the defendant selecting a boxed pram, worth just under £50, and walking out of the store with it."
O'Connor was arrested on November 21 and later admitted the theft. Her previous court case was in September.
Stuart Muldoon, mitigating, said O'Connor had endured a 'very troubled' upbringing which including her mother committing suicide when she was a teenager.
Mr Muldoon also revealed that O'Connor was taken out to shoplift as a child.
He added: "She's never had a role model and she wants to be a role model for her son. Her plan is to move out of Stoke-on-Trent.
"The only people she knows here are drug users and she knows that when she can't cope she goes back to heroin.
"In Walsall there are friends and family who have not been in trouble and don't use drugs and they have offered their support."
Mr Muldoon said O'Connor has begun to confront her mental health issues.
He added: "She has always seen it as a sign of weakness to ask for help and already thinks that people look down on her because of her previous convictions and her use of Class A drugs."
Judge Glenn handed her a seven month sentence – which included two months for the theft and her previous term being reduced from eight to five.