Northern Ireland

Police shoplift accused Totten 'a bold, brazen thief'

PSNI
Image caption Linda Totten denies two charges relating to the theft of goods from Asda in Enniskillen

A police officer on trial for theft was "a bold, brazen thief", a court has been told.

Linda Totten, 50, with an address given as a police station in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, denies shoplifting.

She faces two charges relating to the theft of goods from Asda in Enniskillen on 20 and 24 December 2013.

The trial has heard evidence from Asda staff and police officers who claimed she entered the store on the first date and did not pay for all the items.

Two trolleys

When challenged by staff, Ms Totten claimed to have a receipt but when this was later presented, it was found to relate to items purchased two months previously.

On the second date, Christmas Eve, Ms Totten again entered the shop and CCTV showed her initially with two trolleys.

While in the clothing area, she is seen transferring all items into one trolley and proceeding to the self-service checkout.

She paid only for few items, before leaving the store.

Ms Totten was apprehended on leaving the store, and subsequently arrested and charged.

'Racist and sexist'

She has denied any thefts occurred, and instead contends Asda staff assaulted her, detained her against her will, used racial, sexist and discriminatory language, denied her medical assistance and lied about the events in question.

When cross-examination resumed, Ms Totten said: "It's a long time ago. It's four years ago. I was not in a good place at that time. I was on medication."

It was put to her that the reason she had returned to the shop was because she had been apprehended taking unpaid goods to her car.

Ms Totten denied this, saying she had returned to the store for safety after being "assaulted" by staff in the foyer.

"I was attacked," she said. "Nobody explained to me what was going on. When I was grabbed. I suffered a panic attack.

"I wanted to feel safe. I froze. My heart was beating and I could hear it in my head," she added.

Stress ball

A prosecution lawyer said: "You say that but the CCTV footage shows you walk back in calmly with your hands in your pockets."

Ms Totten accepted this, but said she had a stress ball in one pocket and was squeezing it to help her deal with the situation.

The lawyer accused her of attempting to "blacken the character" of prosecution witnesses.

"This is all simply nonsense and nothing more than attempts to garner sympathy," he said.

"You have made up very serious false claims against Asda staff. It is your hope the jury will be swayed on their credibility. Isn't that your ploy?"

'They are lying'

Ms Totten replied: "It is not. They are lying. In fact I say they have lied on oath in this court.

"I have explained to you before what was going on with my ex-partner. You have alleged I stole from Asda.

"I am not a thief. I refute the allegation. I did not steal anything."

The lawyer said Ms Totten was "a bold, brazen thief".

Turning to the judge, Ms Totten said she took great exception to the lawyer's comments: "I am insulted. I take exception to [the prosecutor's] line of abuse directed at me.

"I have not committed any crime."

The trial continues.

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