Woman packed bags ready for jail


Court. - Credit: Archant

A WESTON woman, who has committed hundreds of crimes and brought bags of her belongings to court fearing she would be jailed, has avoided a prison sentence.

Violet Ho, of Selworthy Road, pleaded guilty to stealing £138 worth of clothing from Matalan on November 2 because she was ‘under pressure’ from a man who has just been released from prison.

Mae Lee, prosecuting, told North Somerset Courthouse on Monday the 61-year-old has committed 201 similar offences.

She said: “In a police interview she (Ho) said she went to prison two years ago for someone and that person had also been in prison and was then asking her to sell drugs for him.

“He rang her the night before (the offence) asking for money.

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“She refused to name the person and said he was not a person you could mess with.”

Ed Boyce, defending, told the court Ho had been released from prison last year and had ‘more or less’ stayed out of trouble since then.

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He said: “The individual who owned the drugs or gave her the drugs has only just been released and she was under some pressure.

“She is not using heroine at the moment.

“She is living in the first home she has had in a long time and spends much of her time with a friend, and will stay with her a couple of nights a week.

“She is also involved in some interesting charity work she found while inside called Changing Tunes, which helps offenders find some sort of therapy through music and singing.

“She has also received an award for this work, and was given the certificate this morning. She is not a lady who is banging on, committing offences, she is a lady who is vulnerable in her own right and hopefully this problem will not arise again.

“She wanted me to tell the court she is not looking at this situation lightly.

“She brought some bags with her today as she thought she may be looking at imprisonment.”

Chair magistrate Nasor Ali said: “We did consider custody but will disregard that for now as we have heard about your situation. If you continue to offend next time matters will be very serious.”

Ho was handed a community order with a supervision requirement of 15 months.

She was also ordered to pay £85 in court costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

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