Diane Louise Mary Conroy faced Mackay Magistrates Court on December 18 for a total of 13 charges.
Diane Louise Mary Conroy faced Mackay Magistrates Court on December 18 for a total of 13 charges.

‘Drug-addicted drongo’ mum stole to feed meth use

A magistrate has slammed a South Mackay mother as a "drug-addicted drongo" after she broke into various homes to fund her methylamphetamine habit.

Diane Louise Mary Conroy faced Mackay Magistrates Court via videolink from jail earlier this month on 13 charges while two of her daughters watched from the gallery.

Legal Aid Queensland defence solicitor Rosemary Varley said her 52-year-old client dropped out of high school in Year 9 and was the youngest of 13 siblings.

"(Conroy) was in receipt of Centrelink New Start allowance," Ms Varley said.

"Her primary job prior to her remand was the care of her daughter … who is 16 years of age."

But Magistrate Damien Dwyer interrupted the defence submissions and said Conroy's primary occupation was to "get herself drugs".

Ms Varley said Conroy's addiction went to the root of her offending.

"She was using very heavily, particularly towards just prior to her remand," she said.

Prosecutor Chelsea Pearson said Conroy's offending spanned from November 2019 to October this year.

The court also heard Conroy failed to appear in court twice before she was arrested and only pleaded guilty after considerable time in custody.

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When Ms Varley said her client was "very remorseful, "ashamed" and "embarrassed" about her behaviour, Mr Dwyer again interjected.

"If she had remorse … how come it took so long to get a plea?," he said.

"The evidence against her is overwhelming.

"Fingerprints on jewellery boxes and all sorts of things."

When Ms Varley said Conroy had fallen into "very excessive" drug use after a "more stressful than most" year, Mr Dwyer replied the impact of 2020 had been felt by the whole community.

"But they don't go robbing people's houses, taking their jewellery, taking their cars," he said.

"And not once, but over and over and over again."

Mr Dwyer said he was not completely confident rehabilitation was a possibility for Conroy but would take it into account considering her age.

"Ms Conroy … you didn't plea guilty until you absolutely had to because you were sentenced into custody," he told her.

"Your behaviour has been an absolute disgrace.

"People's homes are their castle.

"The courts will not condone your behaviour nor will any member of the community.

"People expect to be able to leave their home without some drug-addicted drongo breaking into the place.

"You can say sorry all you like, but as I say in this court over and over and over again, everybody's sorry, everybody's full of self-pity for what they've done.

"I don't look at what you say, I look at what you do.

"What you do is get drug-addicted and go and break into people's houses and pinch their jewellery and their bikes and their credit card and their wallets.

"It's got to stop and it's got to stop now.

"One of these offences that you have pleaded guilty to leads to a maximum penalty of life in prison.

"I note that you have the strong support of your family here today.

"I can see that the support hasn't been given to them because the latest offence here is about (you) failing to make sure your daughter goes to school.

"You were too busy with your own selfish reasons and drug addictions to even look after your own children.

"I'm going to give you this chance but it's a double-edged sword."

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For twice failing to appear before the court, Mr Dwyer fined her $1000.

He also ordered Conroy to pay $1080 restitution to Westpac and more than $1000 to members of the community whom she had stolen from.

For the remaining charges, Mr Dwyer sentenced Conroy to 12 months jail with immediate parole.

She must submit to urine testing at least once per month for the first six months, complete 12 hours of community service per week and visit her parole officer twice-weekly.

"It's time you grew up," Mr Dwyer told her.

"Convictions are recorded.

"Best of luck Ms Conroy."


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