A MOTHER whose two young sons were found dead in a suitcase after her husband attempted suicide was given a 15-month suspended jail term for theft yesterday. Chow Shuk-ying, 24, admitted stealing $78,837 from five companies while working as a cashier. Barrister Paul Tse Tak-yan told the District Court that while in custody, Chow learned her 25-year-old husband, Cheng Chi-chu, had leapt from their fourth-floor flat in Yau Ma Tei and their two children - Hei-shun, 18 months, and Hei-lok, one month - were dead. Mr Tse said Chow's husband, who may be permanently disabled, now faces a double murder charge. His trial starts on December 4. He told the court the couple married in 1991, but Cheng resigned from the Correctional Services Department a year later. He was unable to find a steady job and started drinking. They borrowed from friends and relatives but could not repay the money, the court heard. Mr Tse said Chow had been forced to steal to support her son and was pregnant at the time of the offences. Judge Caird told the court it was 'not an uncommon excuse' to steal and was a clear breach of trust. But, taking into account Chow's suffering and the remorse he believed she felt for her crimes, he was taking the exceptional step of imposing a suspended sentence. 'The defendant has suffered greatly, more than most people appearing in court in similar circumstances of having breached a trust by stealing from their employers,' the judge said. A psychiatric report showed Chow was 'not mentally ill but at the end of her emotional tether'. In sentencing her, Judge Caird took into consideration her guilty plea and clear record. Chow admitted five charges of theft between September 3, 1994, and April 3, 1995. Six similar charges were left on the court file.