A Judge told a defendant “I don’t know what you’re smiling at” as he passed sentence on her for three acts of theft.

Ellen Ward, of Carnmore Rise Enniskillen, was fined £350 and given a 12-month probation order by District Judge Michael Ranahan. The defendant escaped jail time at Fermanagh Magistrates Court this week with Judge Ranahan taking into consideration the fact she had eight children and the possible impact a custodial sentence would have on them.

Appearing alongside Ellen Ward was her husband Charles Ward, who plead guilty to one act of theft. Ward who resides in Sligo, also escaped jail time receiving a five-month sentence that was suspended for two and a half years.

When the sentence was handed down the defendant exchanged words with the Judge, who stated;

“You have had your chances. It might be best for you to stay up in Sligo and not offend again here.”

The court heard that the pair had lengthy records. The prosecution explained that they were both charged with the theft of a pair of bolt cutters from Aiken Autospares on October 23 2017. The court heard that the pair had entered the shop with Ellen Ward removing the bolt cutters and Charles Ward concealing the view of the shop workers.

Upon investigation of CCTV cameras police identified the pair.

The court also heard how on 29 of September 2017 Ellen Ward had stolen a jacket from Sports Direct in Enniskillen. The final charge of theft against Ellen Ward was for the theft of clothes from Maeve Mc Hale on April 21 2017 to the value of £76.

Defending solicitor Gary Black said that Ellen Ward had significant health issues and that a custodial sentence would have a significant negative impact on her 8 children.

He went on to say that all compensation had been paid in relation to the thefts. Mr Black continued by stating that at the time of the incidents Ellen Ward was having difficulties with her benefit claims and was not in receipt of any.