A 43 year old female who stole crystal bowls from Claregalway Church was the same woman who lay on a trolley in a maternity ward some months later and refused to leave for staff.
Jane Ward, 30 Tierboy,Tuam and formerly of 62 Parkmore Estate, Tuam appeared before Galway District Court last Monday, where she was given suspended sentences and ordered to stay away from the church.
Ward had pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in a public place and to refusing to leave UHG on January 6th last year when she first appeared before the court last February.
She pleaded guilty at the time also to disorderly conduct in a public place and to refusing to leave the area of Newcastle Road, Galway, when directed to do so by Gardaí on January 1st last year.
Ward further pleaded guilty to stealing three Galway crystal bowls from the altar at Claregalway Church on June 28th 2013.
Inspector Mick Dwyer told the court in February that staff at the hospital’s maternity unit had to call the Gardaí when Ward—who had been lying on a trolley there for no reason and was making a nuisance of herself—refused to leave for them on January 6th last year.
He said Gardaí were called five days later to the Londis shop at Newcastle Road where Ward was interfering with people trying to enter the shop. She again refused to leave that area and had to be arrested.
Ward, the Inspector said, went into Claregalway Church when it was empty on June 23rd 2013, and was captured on CCTV going up on the altar and taking three Galway crystal bowls worth €50 each.
She then left the church and got into a waiting car outside. The bowls were subsequently recovered and Ward arrested.
Defence solicitor, Gearoid Geraghty said in February that there was no rational explanation for Ward going into the hospital and lying on a trolley, except that she suffered from depression and was on a lot of medication.
He said she had no recollection of any of the offences,”good, bad or indifferent” and he suggested she might benefit from the intervention of the probation service as she had no previous convictions. Judge Fahy directed the preparation of a Community Service Report, which was handed into court this week.
She agreed with Mr Geraghty that the report was incomplete. She said the matter had been going on too long and it was time to deal with it.
Judge Fahy observed Ward was supposed to be taking medications but she had come off them around the time of this offending behaviour.
She said that while the bowls were recovered, the theft of the items from the church must have been very upsetting for parishioners.
She sentenced Ward to four months in prison for those thefts, which she suspended for two years on condition she be of good behaviour during that time and stay away from the church.
The judge imposed a one-month consecutive, suspended sentence for refusing to leave the maternity unit for Gardaí and staff. A further one-month sentence was imposed on her for refusing to leave the Newcastle Road area.
Imposing fines totalling €200 for being disorderly in public at the hospital and again at Newcastle Road, Judge Fahy warned Ward she was to stay on her meds and stay out of trouble.