A woman addicted to cocaine was sentenced on Thursday to three and a half years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to two residential burglaries.

Sarah Elizabeth Day, 45, who has 26 previous convictions, admitted entering George Town residences in October and December last year during the day when occupants were at home.

Crown counsel Darlene Oko said one of the victims was a 77-year-old woman who walked with a cane and now found herself living in fear. After returning from grocery shopping, the elderly woman put her purse in a bedroom closet and left a Christmas card envelope in a second bedroom. That evening, she noticed that the envelope had been torn open and items had been moved in the top drawer of her dresser. The following morning, she discovered that laundry detergent she had bought was missing and $60 had been taken from her purse.

Police found Ms. Day’s fingerprints on the Christmas card envelope. They arrested her and she initially denied any involvement. Confronted with the fingerprint evidence, she admitted stealing the detergent, which she later sold, but denied stealing the money.

The victim said she knew Ms. Day and had given her money on two previous occasions because she felt sorry for her. She told her interviewer she had been left feeling uneasy and fearful following the burglary.

The other burglary was discovered around 10:50 a.m. when a woman was preparing to leave her home. She saw the defendant, who was not known to her, standing in the kitchen with beers in her hand. She asked what the defendant was doing and told her to put the beers back. The defendant did so and then asked for a drink of water, which was provided. The woman took a photo of the intruder and asked her to leave. Before doing so, the defendant asked her for a blouse. The resident declined that request and the defendant left.

As the resident left her premises, she noticed a black canvas bag filled with soda drinks that had been in her garage but were now in the car park. She took pictures and called police. The defendant was still in the area when officers arrived. She admitted entering the residence and taking beers from the fridge. She also admitted possession of cocaine and consumption of the drug earlier that morning.

Ms. Oko said the defendant had 26 previous convictions, four of them for burglary. Sentences upward of two years had not deterred Ms. Day, who seemingly continued to minimize and justify her offenses as being the result of her drug addiction. Defense attorney Neil Kumar told the court that Ms. Day’s father died when she was 3 and her mother died when she was 15. She began using cocaine in high school, started consuming alcohol at a very early age and was homeless at 17. She had written a letter asking for forgiveness and a second chance.

Ms. Day was given the opportunity to address the court directly and she said she was really sorry for what she had done to the community. “You know, the cocaine really messes me up and with the loss of my son, when he died, it hurts me a lot.”

Justice Carlisle Greaves described Ms. Day as a woman who was obviously ill by reason of her drug addiction, so his starting point was three years.

The judge said aggravating features of the offenses put the sentence at five years, but with a one-third discount for her guilty pleas, concurrent sentences of three and a half years should meet the justice of the case. He imposed no separate penalty for the cocaine offenses.

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