An Orange woman has described her recent time in jail under enhanced lockdown precautions as a torturous experience.
Leah Howarth, 35, formerly of Spring Street, has been in custody since June when her bail was refused following a spending spree with a stolen debit card in Orange.
She appeared in Orange Local Court via a video link from jail on Monday and made a tearful plea for clemency and promised not to reoffend.
"Being in custody is hard but being in custody during lockdown for COVID amounts to torture," Howarth said.
"I'm fearful of the safety of my parents and children who all fall into the high-risk category of COVID."
She said she has not been able to see loved ones, has had a lot of time to reflect while she has been on remand and is off drugs. Howarth also promised to pay back the stolen money and said after she collects her belongings from Orange she plans to join her family in Bourke.
She was arrested on June 28 after she was identified on CCTV footage. According to police, the card was lost overnight on June 26. At 7.30am the next morning Howarth found it in a Summer Street car park and went on a spending spree with a man who is known to police.
At 7.40am they bought flavoured milk and cigarettes for $33.55 from Summer Street IGA, she also made two purchases at Coles, caught two taxi rides and bought two pairs of Asics joggers for $339.98 from Intersport Orange while using a fake name.
She also topped up her mobile phone credit, bought a QLD Maroons jumper from Best&Less and spent $14.50 on a meal from Peisley Street Flame Grilled Chicken.
Magistrate David Day said he would take into account the time she has already served in "extremely onerous conditions". "She's also coming out clean and motivated," Mr Day said.
Mr Day sentenced her to concurrent 12-month Community Correction Orders for nine purchases and for stealing the card. He also ordered her to pay $541.86 in compensation to the owner of the stolen debit card.
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