Woman jailed over unpaid restaurant bill

Published Monday, 24 March 2014
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A woman who left a restaurant without paying has been jailed in a bid to help her beat an addiction to drink.

Woman jailed over unpaid restaurant bill
The woman fled the bistro with her partner last month. (© UTV)

Eimear Symington, 26, was given a month behind bars for fleeing from the Potted Hen in Belfast following a £37.90 meal.

She will also serve a further month in prison after a suspended sentence from a previous theft case was activated.

A judge told the young that her confession to being an alcoholic "almost makes me cry".

Symington, with an address on the Falls Road in Belfast, admitted a charge of making off without paying the bistro.

Her co-accused Gerard McAdam, 33, from Canterbury Street in the city, pleaded guilty to the same offence.

The pair had gone into the restaurant, located in the Cathedral Quarter, on 23 February.

Sitting at Belfast Magistrates' Court, District Judge Bernadette Kelly gave McAdam one week to gather up the money owed for the meal.

He was told a conditional discharge may be handed down.

But a lawyer for Symington indicated she was seeking imprisonment in a bid to help her dry out.

Judge Kelly said: "I don't know where to start, especially with someone like you - quite clearly bright, well-educated and with so much potential.

"You are telling me, and I have to say that almost makes me cry, that at the ripe old age of 26 you are an alcoholic.

"Even at 26 you still have a whole life ahead of you if you get the help you need."

Imposing a total of two months in prison, the judge added that it was the only available penalty.

© UTV News
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6 Comments
dave in blfast wrote (189 days ago):
totally agree elle ,what a disgraceful decision in both cases.
ken in belfast wrote (190 days ago):
ellie did you even read it the defendant asked for a custodial sentence to help her get off the drink the judge would not have granted a custodial sentence if she hadnt of asked for one
Belfast in Belfast wrote (190 days ago):
This "poor woman" as you call her is a drunk and a theif. She deserved what she got. Those animal abusing scum should have got punished i agree.
sick of people like her in ards wrote (190 days ago):
things are so dear now because of people like her who don't pay their way, no excuses, she is not a poor women she is a thief.
I despair in Bangor wrote (190 days ago):
Have to agree Elle that animal abusers get off - one wonders what planet our judges are on!
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