A thieving disgraced PSNI sergeant who “cunningly” stole from her local Asda store, not once but twice, has been jailed for a total of six months.
Judge Neil Rafferty QC told Sgt Linda Totten that while the public expected those entrusted to uphold the law, she had brazenly gone into the Enniskillen store to steal.
“This is a mature woman who deliberately and with premeditation went to that store to steal and did so on two occasions,” said the Dungannon Crown Court judge, who added given her police service and medical condition he would temper justice with mercy.
“Nevertheless it is my view that the offending in this particular case was so serious, so premeditated and so culpable that only an immediate custodial sentence will suffice,” said Judge Rafferty.
In his summing up at Armagh courthouse, Judge Rafferty also cleared Asda staff of any wrongdoing in apprehending Totten, currently on police bail accused of shoplifting on Valentine’s Day last week.
The disgraced policewoman of 27 years had accused staff of “homophobia, bigotry, prejudice and racism and motivated by malice”. But Judge Rafferty said he wanted to make it “absolutely clear that these allegations had no basis in my view whatsoever”.
The Asda staff had behaved, he added, at all times “properly, lawfully and responsibly” and that there should be “no tinge of suspicion” concerning them as “these allegations are baseless”.
Defence lawyer Liam McStay said yesterday whilst reinstated by the PSNI last August, Totten is “facing imminent disciplinary proceedings” and her livelihood and reputation are now completely at an end.
Prosecuting barrister James Johnston said that the sergeant was caught using the same modus operandi of loading her trolley with shopping on top of which she placed a cardboard box of cheap items which she then went to pay for.
Although caught on CCTV on both occasions, when challenged Totten told staff she had paid for the bulk of the shopping and only needed to pay for those items in the box.
Last November a jury took less than an hour to convict the 50-year-old of being a shoplifter.
Her first trial ended with the jury unable to decide on the two charges of stealing a trolley full of unknown goods from Asda on December 20 2013, and for taking over £155 worth of goods four days later on Christmas Eve.
By their verdicts the jury appear to have accepted the prosecution case of barrister James Johnston, that Totten had gone to the store “not to buy a few items ... she went in to steal them”.
And that she was no ordinary shoplifter, who went “around the store slipping things under her coat”.
“These were two brazen and bold thefts” carried out by a “bluffer ... with the expectation that she would be believed” when she claimed she’d already paid for most of her shopping.