A TROUBLED X-Factor contestant from South Tyneside has been told by a judge she should carry a “health warning” after stealing a man’s phone and cash as he slept.
Paige Flaherty, a one-time member of girl group Twisted, met Corey Clarke, who was her Facebook friend, on a night out in Newcastle and went back to his home, where she spent the night in his room.
Newcastle Crown Court heard when he woke, Flaherty, of Fife Avenue, Jarrow, had gone - along with his iPhone and £200 from his mother’s purse in the living room.
When police went to the 20-year-old’s home they found Mr Clarke’s phone plugged into Flaherty’s laptop, with a data-removing programme running.
Flaherty admitted theft.
At the time of the offence, in June last year, the brunette was on a suspended prison sentence imposed in April for motoring offences after she hit a pedestrian while driving a pink mini she had stolen from a friend.
The singer was collared for the hit and run after her victim spotted her auditioning on the hit ITV show and reported her to the police.
While on bail for the car crash, Flaherty also used a family friend’s bank details to get a mobile phone contract for a new iPhone5 while the victim was in hospital having cancer tests.
She admitted fraud in relation to the phone offence, which happened last January.
Michael Bunch, prosecuting, told the court Flaherty’s previous offending - mostly for dishonesty - relates entirely to friends and acquaintances.
Judge John Evans told her: “It seems to me you ought to be carrying a health warning, warning those who find themselves in your company against the dangers of being in your company.
“Your conduct towards the victims in this case is truly shocking. A common theme in your offending is that you steal from friends, people who have shown you nothing but kindness.
“They receive in return nothing but contempt.”
Judge Evans deferred sentence until December to allow Flaherty a chance to prove she has changed her ways.
He warned her: “This is unquestionably your final chance to sort your life out.
“You are very, very fortunate indeed to be receiving this chance. You are not getting another one.”
Flaherty appeared in the dock in tears as sentence was passed, after the judge had remanded her in custody over the lunchtime adjournment.
Jane Foley, defending, said Flaherty’s past behaviour was “appalling”.
Miss Foley told the court: “She is a young woman who was starting out with a career in the music industry at one time.
“However, she has now well and truly established a reputation as a thief.”
Miss Foley said Flaherty has been out of trouble since the offending last year and has managed to find part time work with a PR company.
Judge Evans said she faces at least nine months behind bars if she offends again before her next court appearance.