Jail sentence hangs over contracts manager who stole nearly £10,000 from Tibshelf Community School

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A jail sentence hangs over a school contracts manager who stole almost £10,000 in a bid to pay debts.

Louise Thomas (45) hoped to repay money taken from Tibshelf Community School coffers with the proceeds of a house sale.

But a check was carried out and the £9,462 discrepancy came to light, magistrates at Chesterfield were told.

“She said she had taken the money for personal reasons. She got into financial difficulties two years ago and the house had no equity when it was sold in October,” said Andrew Legge, prosecuting.

Thomas stated that her father had major debts when her mother died. She took money to pay for the funeral and falsified computer accounting records.

“She said it was making her ill and she was on anti-depressants and she had attempted to take an overdose recently. She was very remorseful and said she wanted to pay the money back.”

Thomas, of Horsehead Lane, Bolsover, admitted a charge of theft by employee at Tibshelf between 2010 and 25th June. She had no previous convictions.

The bench imposed a four-month jail term but suspended it for a year. They also gave her 150 hours unpaid work and a one-year probation supervision order, with £9,462 compensation and £85 costs.

Her solicitor, Steve Brint, said she remarried 18 years ago and left her first husband in the marital home because he had threatened to torch the property if she kicked him out.

“He couldn’t afford to pay anything towards the upkeep of the house and debts were rising. She was with her second husband and the recession made it hard to sell the property.

“It was in danger of being repossessed so she started taking sufficient money each month to pay the mortgage, intending to repay it when the house was sold.

“But, when it was sold last year, prices had dropped and there was no equity,” said Mr Brint.

He added that the situation had put strain on her second marriage, which Mr Legge said had also failed.