Home detention for bag-snatch driver

A driver who snatched a woman's handbag, dragging her 3m in a supermarket car park, has been sentenced to eight months' home detention.

Christine Daphne McLaren (22), of Clinton, appeared for sentencing in the Dunedin District Court.

The summary said a 25-year-old woman was loading her groceries into her vehicle at Countdown Central supermarket, about 6pm on January 29, when McLaren reversed from a park and slowed alongside her.

McLaren reached out and grabbed the woman's handbag from the child seat of the trolley. While McLaren was trying to pull the handbag into her vehicle, the woman grabbed hold of the bag.

McLaren accelerated heavily, pulling the woman along beside the vehicle. After a short distance, the woman fell and was dragged about 3m along the ground.

McLaren kept a hold on the bag until the woman let go, then drove from the car park at speed.

The woman suffered grazing and bruising requiring medical attention, and the clothes she was wearing were damaged beyond repair.

McLaren's explanation was she was heavily affected by drugs and had little recollection of her actions.

Crown counsel Richard Smith said the incident had the potential for serious consequences.

Judge Kevin Phillips agreed. It was only through good fortune the victim received no permanent injury, he said.

This week, Judge Phillips also sentenced McLaren to carry out 250 hours' community work and pay $920 reparation, and disqualified her from driving for 12 months.

She had been convicted of aggravated injury and stealing the handbag.

Counsel John Westgate said McLaren no longer associated with her then peer group. She had removed herself from a co-dependent relationship and had undergone detoxification. McLaren had been in a drug-induced cloud. Once she got her head out of there, she felt shame, regret and sadness for her offending.

McLaren was also being dealt with on a theft committed about one and a-quarter hours after the supermarket car park incident, and convictions for two breaches of community work.

The theft facts were McLaren and an associate arrived at Cableways car park in McLaren's vehicle, about 7.15pm.

McLaren removed a GPS unit and a bottle of Opal Nera liqueur from an unlocked 4WD vehicle, and returning to her vehicle was confronted by the 4WD owner.

Reversing erratically from the parking lot, she crashed into two stationary vehicles and sped off.

For the theft of the handbag in Countdown car park, she was sentenced to three months' home detention, and for the theft at Cableways and the community work breaches two months' home detention (all concurrent with the eight months).

In addition, she is to pay $1969.94 reparation for the theft and damage at Cableways car park; and she is to be under post detention conditions for six months.