A HOMELESS woman who tried to get herself sent back to prison by throwing a chair at a taxi has had her wish denied.

Sophie Chantelle McGrath, of no fixed abode, was produced in custody at Wrexham Magistrates Court on Wednesday for sentence.

The 26-year-old had previously admitted one offence of criminal damage.

Prosecutor Rhian Jackson told the court that taxi driver Christopher Harry was driving his Ford Mondeo along Abbott Street in Wrexham at around 6am on February 16.

He spotted McGrath standing on the pavement, holding a chair over her head.

She then threw the item directly at the complainant's car, which caused dents to the front and rear doors, as well as a scratch.

When Mr Harry exited the vehicle, McGrath appeared "not bothered" and told him to call the police.

Officers arrived and when spoken to, the defendant told police: "I've trashed his car haven't I? You may as well handcuff me because I want to go back to prison and I'm on licence."


Ms Jackson told the court that the offence put McGrath in breach of a 12 month conditional discharge imposed in August last year for criminal damage.

The circumstances giving rise to that sentence involved the defendant punching and smashing a car wing mirror - also in Abbott Street.

At her first appearance for the February 16 offence, Magistrates opted to remand her in custody ahead of the sentencing hearing.

The Bench concluded on that day that there was a reasonable possibility McGrath would go straight back out and deliberately cause more criminal damage in the intervening period - describing her as a risk to the public and herself.

A probation officer told the court on Wednesday that whilst McGrath's engagement and compliance with probation had been positive in the past, there were concerns about her homelessness.

"She is neurodiverse," the probation officer explained.

"She is on the autism spectrum which impacts her capacity and willingness to engage."

Lorraine McClure, defending, told the court: "The principal concern is her homelessness.

"My concern is, if she is released today - would she engage?

"This is a lady who has had significant previous convictions for this type of offence.

"She's saying to me she believes she is not actually safe in the community at the moment."

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Ms McClure said she was concerned her client had expressed she would not comply with proposed measures of an alcohol tag and a ban on entering licenced premises - as the court heard McGrath planned to 'cut off' any tag placed on her after Wednesday's hearing.

"She is in a vicious cycle," Ms McClure added.

"I appreciate it's a difficult decision [for the court]."

But the Magistrates opted to follow the sentencing guidelines, finding that it would be "bad sentencing practice" to deviate from them and jail McGrath - even though it is what she wanted.

A community order of 12 months was imposed; with 19 sessions on a thinking skills programme, an alcohol abstinence monitoring programme of 120 days, rehabilitation activity of 20 days, and a six month ban from all licenced premises and off-licences in Wrexham City Centre.

McGrath must also pay a £114 victim surcharge.

"I'll be back here tomorrow," the defendant told the court.