Thief robbed of a chance at decent life: Sobs as woman tells of drugs and death

KATHLEEN Theresa Smith, 46,  took the stand in Orange District Court on Wednesday admitting she was on a cocktail of heroin, rivotril and marijuana when she followed a man home from the supermarket and assaulted and robbed him of $1500 as he tried to get his groceries through the front door.

Smith told the court she had no recollection of what she did with the stolen cash following the assault and robbery in December 2012.

“I probably spent it or lost it - or just got scared and ran,” she said.

A victim impact statement was handed up to Judge Stephen Norrish for his consideration as part of the sentencing procedure by crown prosecutor Wayne Creasey.

When questioned by her defence counsel Chris Simpson, Smith broke down and began sobbing as she acknowledged as one of nine children she had grown up witnessing family violence on a regular basis.

She said she had her first baby at 17 and then left to live in Sydney where she was raped by a group of Tongan men who were later convicted and sent to jail.

Mr Simpson told the court this left a profound impact on his client who went on to have four more children and began a life where she was significantly dependent on intravenous heroin use and other drugs.

When Mr Simpson began questioning the accused about the death of her eldest son from suicide, another son in a house fire, and her elderly mother all while she was in custody at various times, Smith began sobbing uncontrollably.

“Back then I was stupid and silly and drugs got the better of me.

“I’ve lost my mum who was my best friend and two boys and I blame myself.”

“If I didn’t take drugs I would be a better person in life,” she said.

Smith also told the court of her anguish in not being able to attend the funeral of her mother.

“Is it true you also had to attend your son’s funeral shackled and couldn’t attend the  burial,” Mr Simpson asked.  

After further questioning about access to counselling Smith told the court she hadn’t benefited while behind bars.

“They just say ‘yes’ or ‘OK’ and then hand you on to the next person and I can’t handle being shoved from one person to the next,” she said.

Judge Norrish told Mr Simpson his client’s history was a sad one, but her efforts were unimpressive.

Judge Norrish called for access to comments of previous judges who have sentenced Smith and adjourned the case while the documents were  sourced.

Smith who has been in custody for 15 months apologised to the victim who was not present in court.

“I am sorry and ashamed,” she said.

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