Former mayor and respectable member of the community stole almost GBP 40 000

A former mayor did the crime and is now about to serve the time in a UK case involving theft of almost GBP 40 000 which concluded this week. The accused used the money to pay off online gambling debts at unspecified sites after she became addicted to online gambling, a court heard.

49-year-old Jayne Yeomans was so hooked she forged her husband's signature to raise a mortgage on the family home in addition to stealing from her employer, the Carlisle South End Constitutional Club, where she handled club finances.

Kenneth Hay, prosecuting, said Yeomans developed the "extreme gambling problem" in August 2007 and was eventually exposed after a new club secretary became suspicious. When she was discovered she tried to kill herself with a medicinal drug overdose, the court heard.

Accepting her sterling community service and conduct outside of her addiction, the court sentenced Yeomans to jail for 12 months for theft of GBP 38 726 and falsifying a mortgage document.

Yeomans' legal representative, Gregory Hoare said it was "a very sorry case".

"In many ways it is a story of our modern times - an illustration that many of us might be capable of falling into the thrall of addiction, whether drinking, drugs or in this case gambling," he said before producing good character references for his client.

Saying that the case caused him particular concern, Judge Paul Batty QC said he regretted Yeomans would have to be jailed immediately as a result of her "persistent and deliberate dishonesty over a considerable period of time".

He told Yeomans: "People trusted you and you betrayed their trust in the most appalling way. I take into account your fall from grace which is now absolute and complete. I accept you are a broken woman and in poor health and, when about to be discovered, made a determined effort to end your own life.

"I have in mind your years of fine public service to this city, your charitable works and fine testimonials on your behalf."

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