Stealing mum's stern jail wake-up call

A MUM sentenced to a jail term for her continued stealing offences was warned by an Ipswich magistrate she was a bad example to her children.

As she faced Ipswich Magistrates Court this week, the young mother was told she risked making criminal activities a lifestyle.

Tia Jeanette Somerville, 35, from Leichhardt, pleaded guilty to stealing; driving when unlicensed due to a SPER suspension; and contravening a police direction.

Magistrate Virginia Sturgess fined Somerville $300 for the driving offence and jailed her for three months.

Ms Sturgess also sentenced her to three months' jail for the stealing offence, making it a total of six months.

The magistrate said the important question was whether to order her serve any actual time behind bars.

She said she did not have much faith in Somerville staying out of trouble with the law.

This had not be shown in the past 12 months, with Somerville unable to keep her hands off other people's property.

Even though her sister, in a letter to the court, said a jail term would not benefit her, Ms Sturgess said it would be of benefit; if only to keep Somerville away from shops and stealing.

But after contemplating the question of ordering Somerville to serve actual time, the magistrate granted her immediate parole instead, with a strong warning not to re-offend as she would go straight into jail.

Ms Sturgess expressed concern Somerville will involve her children in criminal activities as if it was a lifestyle.

Somerville was disqualified from driving one month and ordered to pay $44.40 compensation to Woolworths at Brassall.