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Woman confessed to £205,000 theft


A legal executive used £205,000 stolen from her employer to improve her home and treat friends – including going to Neil Diamond concerts.

Ruth Turner, of Hinckley, confessed to using the money to pay for home improvements and to "buy friends" with shopping sprees, meals and concerts, Coventry Crown Court heard.

She carried out a sophisticated scheme to deprive Kundert Solicitors, of Coventry, of the money.

Using the completion of house sales as a cover, she transferred sums of about £10,000 into her bank accounts at a time. The most taken at once was £21,000.

The elaborate fraud went undetected by colleagues but came to light when she confessed to police last year.

Turner, of Sunnydale Road, started work at the company as a secretary in 2006, progressing to the role of conveyancing executive on an annual salary of £36,000.

The 46-year-old was jailed for three years after admitting abusing her position as a company executive to syphon funds, between February 2009 and September 2011.

Prosecutor Ian Ball told the court Turner committed the crime because she struggled to pay spiralling debts and felt like a social outcast.

"She found that by taking friends to lavish events, shopping, meals, she was suddenly popular," he said.

"The money was going out as quickly as it was coming in, spending on the house, taking friends out and going to concerts, including Neil Diamond twice in a week."

Mr Ball said Turner fled Kundert Solicitors' offices in September after an outburst colleagues assumed was due to personal problems.

Turner returned to work the next day as normal but turned herself in at a police station the following Monday to confess – taking with her bank statements.

Mr Ball said she told police she had stolen about £400,000, but due to lack of evidence could only be charged over £205,000.

Turner, who has an adult son and was the primary carer for her 75-year-old mother, admitted the charge.

Graham Russell, for Turner, painted a picture of a woman "driven to desperation" against a background of an abusive relationship, financial problems and mental health issues, including depression and compulsive behaviours.

He said his client felt so ashamed of what she had done, she had attempted suicide before handing herself in to police.

Mr Russell said: "I would suggest, having in mind the abusive relationship she was in and that she was having difficulty with compulsive eating and drinking, that would go some way to explaining the compulsive stealing and spending."

The court was told Kundert faced doubled insurance premiums and a £100,000 investigation bill.

Sentencing Turner, Judge Richard Griffith-Jones described the defendant's actions as a "serious abuse of trust" which risked the company in a tough economic climate and put colleagues' jobs in jeopardy.

He said: "You were doing it out of greed and you weren't really being as generous as you felt when you were treating friends with this extravagant lifestyle because it wasn't your money."

A Kundert Solicitors official who attended the hearing declined to comment.

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