|Junkie: Jane Shea|
The junkie ex-wife of former Arsenal and England captain Tony Adams was jailed for twelve months today for stealing handbags from guests at private parties she infiltrated.
Jane Shea, 47, has now clocked-up twenty-eight offences, mostly committed to fund her drug habit, which one ex-boyfriend claimed cost her £250,000 a year when they were together.
She was sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court with accomplice Vannessa Joseph, 33, a fellow resident at an Upper Holloway house in St. John's Grove that has been divided into rooms - a far cry from her former Footballer's Wives lifestyle.
Shea pleaded guilty to stealing a £200 handbag, containing a £300 iPod, on November 17, last year from the nearby Archway Leisure Centre, which had been reserved for a young boy's birthday party.
Both pleaded guilty to theft from the Carpenter's Arms pub, Fitzrovia on January 25, when a guest at a private function had her handbag stolen by Shea and an iPhone was pinched by Joseph.
|Accomplice: Vannessa Joseph|
The couple's marriage collapsed in 1997 as Shea struggled to cope with her drug addiction and Adams wrestled with his own drinking demons.
Repeated admissions to drug rehabilitation clinics to beat her addictions failed and Shea's nadir was ten years ago when she was arrested after junkie Teresa Tuppen, 44, was found by police dead in the back of her BMW.
"You both have appalling records for dishonesty and this is not the first time community orders were tried and did not succeed.
|Digs: St.John's Grove|
"These were sophisticated offences and the public must be protected against offences of this kind."
Prosecutor Mr. Alistair Walker told the court a couple had hired the leisure centre's pool area and set up tables and chairs for guests of their son's birthday and it was closed to the public.
"The husband saw Shea standing near a vending machine and was suspicious of her, because he did not recognise her.
"She had a dark jacket hanging over her arm and he observed his wife's handbag in her possession."
Shea was challenged about having the bag, but replied: "No I don't," and claimed she was waiting for her child in the changing room. "It was all a bluff," added Mr. Walker.
"She left, bashing past the husband and another parent and into the street and made off."
Shea was later identified as the thief on a video identity parade.
While on bail she and Joseph targeted the West End pub, which had taken bookings from several private groups that evening.
|Target: Carpenters Arms|
"Shea was carrying her bag, but inside was the one she had stolen and both defendants were pursued by a number of people."
She was stopped by police in Charlotte Street and Joseph was caught on a bus, where she had tried to hide the iPhone underneath a seat.
Shea's convictions include numerous thefts, plus burglary, having counterfeit currency, driving while unfit and she has breached non-custodial sentences such as drug rehabilitation requirements and community orders.
Joseph has thirty-one previous convictions including robbery, burglary, theft, going equipped, possession of 'crack' cocaine and handling stolen goods.
Shea's lawyer Miss Margaret Anucha told the court: "She has tried to make use of her time in custody, attending counselling for drug abuse and methadone and alcohol detox programme.
"She has abstained from using drugs while in prison."
The offences breached a court imposed community order Shea was on and Miss Anucha added: "She has had a long-standing problem with drugs, has a family, children and a grandchild."
Shea received six months for the leisure centre theft, plus four months for stealing at the pub, with two months added for breaching her community order.
Joseph received six months, plus two months consecutive for also breaching a community order.