X Factor criminal should ‘carry a health warning,’ says judge

Paige Flaherty
Paige Flaherty

A TROUBLED X Factor contestant who was given a final chance to keep her freedom after being told she should carry a “health warning” has stayed out of jail.

Jarrow singer Paige Flaherty, 20, stole a man’s iPhone, along with £200 from his mother’s purse, after she spent the night at his home last June.

When police went to her home in Fife Avenue, Jarrow, they found the 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 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.

After admitting theft of the mobile phone at a hearing in the summer, Judge John Evans deferred sentence until yesterday but said Flaherty would go to jail if she didn’t turn her life around.

Yesterday her barrister Jane Foley told Newcastle Crown Court the singer has kept away from trouble and added; “The defendant has complied.”

Judge Evans sentenced her to six months behind bars, suspended for two years, with 100 hours’ unpaid work.

He told her: “It seems to me a relief, as far as I am concerned, that in the months since I deferred sentence you have not come to the attention of the police again.

As I said at the time, I was less than confident you would be able to stay out of trouble. What you did was mean.”

The judge ordered to pay the £500 Flaherty has saved up over the last six months as compensation.

Judge Evans told her at the earlier hearing: “It seems to me you out to be carrying a health warning, warning those that 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.”

Ms Foley, defending, said Flaherty, whose behaviour has been “greedy”, will struggle to find work because of her criminal record.

Flaherty’s band Twisted hit the headlines after X Factor judge Kelly Rowland told another band member – Chrissie Pitt, from South Shields, South Tyneside – to ditch the rest of the band and continue as a solo artist.

Miss Pitt chose to leave the girl group, leaving the other members furious and out of the competition.

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