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Community work for stealing from mother


A Mosgiel woman took advantage of her mother’s dementia, taking her bank card on a spending spree and burgling her home, a court has heard.

It had been nearly three years since 42-year-old Lauren Jennifer McDougall committed her first crime when she stood in the dock of the Dunedin District Court this week.

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From time to time, McDougall would borrow her mother’s car.

The woman had early onset dementia, Judge David Robinson said.

On the morning of May 2, 2019, she asked again.

Her mother had left her wallet in the car so the defendant took her card on a small shopping spree.

Visiting seven various locations around Mosgiel, she withdrew and spent $380.

A common theme of McDougall’s offending was that her mother was a victim, Judge Robinson said.

McDougall also burgled her mother’s home on July 23, 2019, entering the house while she was not home as she often required assistance and stayed with her other daughter in Central Otago.

She stole a purse and its contents which included various old coins and two bracelets, as well as a watch.

A day later she burgled another victim and stole items valuing over $1000.

When police conducted unrelated searches of McDougall’s home, they found the stolen property and returned it.

However, McDougall maintained she did not steal it, explaining she had found the items related to the second burglary in her mailbox and was about to hand them in.

As for her mother’s items, she stated she had been given them about 20 years ago.

McDougall was also convicted of assault, theft, and a breach of community work.

After multiple adjournments, which were largely not her fault said counsel Liam Collins, McDougall’s case could finally be resolved.

Judge Robinson acknowledged McDougall had not reoffended since 2020.

McDougall was sentenced to 340 hours’ community work, and ordered to pay $730 to her various victims.

If she breached her community work sentence, the court would likely start her sentence at imprisonment, Judge Robinson said.

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