A soft-touch judge has been finally forced to jail a career criminal – who had racked up her 106th offence.
Mum-of-one Sundee Spaulding, 25, had avoided jail despite having more than 33 convictions for more than 100 theft-related and dishonesty crimes.
But she was finally given a 12 month prison term yesterday after Judge Carol Hagen – who had previously given her numerous ‘final chances’ – said Spaulding had given her no other choice.
She told Spaulding: “This is the end of the line for the time being. I hope the future is not without hope.
“I hope when you are released you will be clean of drugs and that you will make a fresh start, but you have to be proactive.”
The notorious soft-justice judge gave drug-addicted Spaulding a “final chance” in May and handed her a strict community order – despite the fact she had broken her supposed “last chance” given after another conviction.
But Bristol Crown Court was told that she had failed to attend her rehabilitation appointments after only two months when she became homeless and began taking drugs again.
It was then that Spaulding entered a Lloyds Pharmacy, in Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset, and stole cosmetic creams worth #420.
She was later identified by CCTV and appeared before Bristol Magistrates Court in October where she admitted the thefts.
Robert Reid, prosecuting, said: “This defendant is 25-years-old and has a history of 104 offences, excluding those that come before you today.
“She made full admissions to the thefts but said she did not enter the shop to shop-lift but saw an opportunity and took the creams.”
After failing to turn up for sentencing due to food poisoning a warrant was issued and Spaulding handed herself in.
Neil Treharne, defending the prolific thief, said Spaulding had begun to use drugs again after she was evicted from her flat in July.
He added however that the creams had not been stolen to feed her drug habit but instead she had intended to sell them to pay for rent.
He said: “She has looked pretty appalling in front of these courts on some occassions.
“She has cleaned herself up now though and is free of drugs.
“She has a little girl who is now seven and she is trying to revolve her life around seeing her.”
Speaking directly from the dock Spaulding apologised to Judge Hagen and agreed that custody was the best option.
She said: “I want to apologise because you did give me so many chances and I did mess up. I think that custody is the best option for me now.”
Judge Hagen handed her a 12 month prison term, six months for the theft and a further six months for breaking her previous community order.
The judge has previously been criticised for declining to send serious offenders to jail.
Last year she refused to send prolific burglar Jason Reed to jail – before he went on to steal from 22 more homes.
She then CUT his jail term, after he was finally caged.
In 2010 she failed to send carer Jane Hoy to prison for stealing from one of her patients – despite describing her offence as a “gross breach of trust targeting a vulnerable victim”.
Victim Lorraine Andrews said she had been left “absolutely gobsmacked” by the decision.
She was criticised in 2010 after a man who stabbed a neighbour over a text message to his girlfriend and a man with 3,400 indecent images of children both avoided custody.
In February this year, jewel thief Mikey Rush, of Withywood, Bristol, was spared jail despite stealing £20,000-worth of goods from 11 shops.