Woman restrained in court after being handed 12-week prison sentence

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple - Credit: Archant

Ilfracombe re-offender jailed for stealing bakery items and snacks.

An Ilfracombe woman who stole bakery items and snacks needed to be restrained and given medical assistance after being sentenced to 12 weeks in prison.

Jennifer Chell, 27, of Market Street pleaded guilty to the theft from the Co-operative in Ilfracombe High Street on October 3, which put her in breach of two existing community orders.

Chell, who was visibly distressed throughout proceedings, brought a bag with her into court in the expectation of being handed a custodial sentence.

The court heard that this was her sixth conviction this year, having already been given two community orders on May 17 and on May 18 at Exeter Crown Court.

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Probation officer Mel Wright explained that Chell had suffered with serious drug and alcohol problems, but that the community orders previously put in place had not worked.

Defence solicitor Tony Dart admitted that Chell was ‘extremely upset’ as she was aware the court’s options were very limited. He called her a ‘vulnerable young lady’ and said he would ‘fear for her’ if she was released.

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Chell became increasingly distressed and cut her hand when she started to punch the dock on several occasions.

Extra help was needed to keep her from hurting herself further and sitting Magistrate Jane Kivlin requested the court be emptied while she was taken down.

Chell will serve four weeks in prison for the offence in October, four weeks for breaching a conditional discharge from earlier in the year, and four weeks for the 11 theft offences while subject to a community order in a continuous sentence.

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