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Mother of three jailed for stealing handbag *LINK*

By Nikita Braxton-Benjamin
October 15, 2013

A MOTHER of three, who said she stole a woman’s handbag because she was desperately trying to feed her children, was yesterday sent to prison.

Michelle Cudjoe, 24, had pleaded to be spared a prison term, saying she had no one to care for her children should she go to jail. But the magistrate said the offence was a serious one and sentenced Cudjoe to seven months’ simple imprisonment.

Around 7.10 p.m. on Saturday, the victim entered a car with Cudjoe and another female in the back seat, police prosecutor Cleyon Seedan said.

On reaching Friendship Village, Cudjoe asked the driver to stop. While exiting the car, she grabbed the victim’s handbag, containing several items, including cash and a cellular phone.

A report was made to PC Nanan at Ste Madeleine Police Station.

He conducted investigations in Friendship Village and after telling Cudjoe of the offence, she admitted to the act. She apologised and handed over the bag with some of the stolen items.

The victim later identified Cudjoe at the police station as the woman who had snatched her belongings.

Cudjoe and a teenaged girl were charged with the offence.

The teen pleaded not guilty before San Fernando Magistrate Indra Ramoo-Haynes yesterday. Cudjoe admitted to the crime. Before the court, she said she was the mother of three.

“At the time of the incident, I was in a desperate situation. My kids had nothing to eat... I was going to try to get some money borrowed from a friend,” she said.

Cudjoe asked Ramoo-Haynes for leniency. She said she had told the officer to relay her apologies to the victim.

Ramoo-Haynes said while she took into consideration that Cudjoe had pleaded guilty and this was her first offence before the court, the magistrate said the offence was a serious one and the victim would have felt violated and scared.

She told Cudjoe that instead of serving an 18-month term, she would sentence her to seven months’ simple imprisonment.

Cudjoe’s teenaged co-accused was placed on $50,000 bail and ordered to return to court on November 11.

The girl was represented by attorney Annalee Girwar, who held for attorney Rekha Ramjit.

Trinidad and Tobago News

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