A TRURO woman with a history of dishonest offending has been spared jail for a second time after stealing cash her victim had saved for a holiday.
On the day her trial was due to start at Truro Crown Court, Catherine Barnes, 34, of Tresawls Road, pleaded guilty to having stolen £650 in cash from Christopher Blakeman-Hall on February 21.
In January, Barnes was given a suspended sentence for breaking into a Perranporth family home while a woman was in her bath and stealing a bath bomb.
On that occasion Barnes, who has a history of drug use, said she was absolutely disgusted with herself for what she described as a “total invasion of privacy”.
The court heard Barnes had a long record for dishonest offences including one previous dwelling house burglary where she stole a clementine.
One month after appearing in court, Barnes committed a further dishonest offence.
Julia Cox, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said Mr Blakeman-Hall had gone into Truro, with money that he had saved up and had planned to buy a holiday.
Instead he met up with a friend and together they went to various pubs and started to drink alcohol.
Ms Cox said Barnes started to talk to Mr Blakeman-Hall’s friend and that they then went for a drink together, ending up in Qdos, on New Bridge Street.
The court heard that at around 10pm, Mr Blakeman-Hall and his friend went outside for a cigarette, leaving Barnes inside, despite the fact that she smoked.
Mr Blakeman-Hall left his money inside the venue in a holdall with his jacket.
“Later [Barnes] went outside to the smoking area and told them she was going on to another venue,” said Ms Cox.
“Mr Blakeman-Hall had seen the defendant moving her hand away from his jacket … he went back and the £650 that was there was gone.”
Paul Gallagher, defending, said Barnes did not work at the moment but was working with addiction charity Addaction and that she was keeping in touch with the police.
Describing the case as “exceptional” Judge Christopher Harvey Clark said he had information, not disclosed in open court, that helped him when it came to sentence.
He said: “There are particular circumstances here that enable me to take a course other than immediate imprisonment.”
Judge Harvey Clark said he expected Barnes to cooperate with the police in the next few weeks: “It is a two-way process and if you expect help from the police, which they will give, they in turn will expect you to help them.”
Barnes was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for two years. She also had the suspension period on her previous suspended sentence extended from 18 months to two years.
Judge Harvey Clark added: “I have given you an exceptional opportunity today; should it occur again, there will not be leniency on my part.”
Barnes was also ordered to pay a “nominal” £150 compensation to Mr Blakeman-Hall after Mr Gallagher said she was “drowning in court costs” from previous cases.