A RETIRED Solihull teacher stole goods from a store just three days after she had been given a conditional discharge for an earlier offence of shoplifting.
Elaine Enderby then tried to get rid of the items by throwing them into a bin in the toilets after being followed past the tills by the store’s deputy manager.
But she was given a further conditional discharge for 12 months, and ordered to pay £500 costs, after a judge heard of the personal trauma she was going through at the time.
The 65-year-old of Kemerton Way in Monkspath, had denied stealing books, fruit and clothing from the Costco store in Coventry, but changed her plea to guilty on the day of her trial at Warwick Crown Court.
Last September year Enderby was in the Costco store in Coventry when the deputy manager was told she seemed to be acting suspiciously.
The deputy manager followed her to the tills, where she quite properly paid for the items in her trolley.
The deputy manager followed her into the toilets and recovered a pack of strawberries, books and clothing worth a total of £44 from the bin.
When she was arrested Enderby, who had been given a conditional discharge just three days earlier for shoplifting in John Lewis the previous week, accepted what she had done, but could not explain why she had done it.
Peter Woodall, defending said Enderby, a former department head at a Solihull school, was under ‘extreme mental stress’ at the time, having been told her mother was dying – and in fact she died the day after the offence.
Judge Richard Bond said: “She was just at a stage in her life where she was obviously incredibly down, and she’s done a couple of really foolish things.
“It was a moment of utter madness, and she immediately regretted what she had done, and she has gone and got help for the depression she was suffering.”
And sentencing Enderby, he told her: “It’s not often I say this, but I do have a degree of sympathy for you, because up until the age of 65 you have led an utterly blameless life and have been a useful member of society.
“We all do things we regret in this life; and this, together with the other offence you committed eight days before, illustrates what I mean.
“It may be you gained some sort of excitement from what you did, but immediately regretted it.
“You did, once you went past the tills, take the decision that you were not going to then remove the items from the store, and that’s why you hid them.”