Heroin addict who stole from elderly neighbour given ‘last opportunity’

A drug addict who stole a purse from an elderly woman after entering her home avoided a jail term when she appeared in court for sentence, however she was warned by Sheriff Graeme Napier: “All options are still open.”

Samantha Chapman, 24, of Rudda Court, Lerwick, made off with £175 from a nearby 78-year-old pensioner on 8th March to buy heroin and settle a debt.

She kissed her victim, who lives only a few doors from Chapman’s home address, on the cheek before making off with the cash and throwing the empty purse into the Clickimin Loch.

Sentence had been deferred two weeks for the preparation of reports and Chapman was held in custody, however Sheriff Napier was persuaded she should be assessed for a drug treatment and testing order after hearing she had had a hard time keeping away from drugs while on remand.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said Chapman had been amazed by the amount of “gear” offered to her while she was in custody.

At one point she had asked for a new cell to help her keep away from drugs. Despite her concerns she had not touched anything while inside.

Mr Allan said Chapman had found her actions “despicable” and was “disgusted with herself”.

“She continues to accept her deep remorse and is genuinely aware of the harm and distress she has caused,” he added. “She doesn’t expect any sympathy from anyone in respect of what she did.”

Mr Allan added Chapman knew herself she needed help, and had been waiting for a methadone prescription which – had she stayed out of trouble – she would have got by now.

He said Chapman had a “genuine wish” to change her life and had been offered alternative accommodation in Lerwick which would allow her to comply with any bail condition stipulating she should not enter Rudda Court.

“How was Cornton Vale?” Sheriff Napier asked Chapman. She replied: “Horrible.”

He added his initial thought had been to send her back there, but decided he would give her the “last opportunity to turn your life around”.

Releasing her on bail until 21st April, he ordered her to stay away from Rudda Court.

However he warned her: “All options are still open. This is just an assessment.”


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