Mother who bankrupted pre-school

Posted: March 29, 2011 in Law & Disorder

First the good news

Further update about the sham marriage in Luton I updated you on last week. Ashar Ali Rathore has been sentenced to 2 years imprisonment at Luton crown court yesterday. His wife has already been sentenced to 8 months last month. Hopefully they will be deported after serving their sentences.

Now the bad news

IlieA mother-of-five who escaped jailed for stealing thousands of pounds from a pre-school, leaving it bankrupt, has been let off almost half of her community service.

Claire Kirkham was ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work last year when Judge Charles Wade took a ‘merciful course’ and imposed a nine-month suspended jail term.

Although the 37-year-old has only completed just over 77 hours with about two weeks until the order ends, a judge at Swindon Crown Court brought it to a conclusion on Wednesday.

Judge Euan Ambrose altered the suspended sentence order, changing the number of hours she needed to do to 77. That meant that as she had done 77.15 hours she had completed the requirement.

He said he was making the alteration after hearing she had medical problems which meant she was unable to do the work.

Presumably the taxpayers now have to support her on incapacity benefit!

Kirkham spent almost £10,000 on goodies for herself over a two-year period when she was chairman of Kingfisher Pre-school in Westbury. Last year, after hearing she had children aged between six months and 12-and-a-half years, Judge Wade imposed a suspended sentence. So if you have young kids you can break the law with impunity?

Within months of taking on the role in May 2006 she started to siphon cash from the charity which runs the pre-school in Arundell Close. In late July 2008 staff wage cheques bounced and other committee members became concerned about the finances.

Kirkham passed off the incident, saying there had been a cash flow problem and that she would ask for their overdraft to be extended.

But one of the mums asked to see the books, which had a number of cheques with blank stubs. When she pointed them out Kirkham demanded the accounts be returned and said that the blank stubs were for void cheques.

However inquiries with the bank showed they had been made out for cash and been countersigned by another committee member.

It was soon discovered that Kirkham had asked two different committee members to countersign pay cheques and not tell the other, before cashing one of them.

She also transferred more than £3,380 from the charity’s building society account to her own and pinched £300 in cash in September 2006. In total she took £9,566.22 between July 2006 and July 2008.

Kirkham, of Bremeridge Road, Westbury, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud and one of theft.

Another case of the law is an ass.

Offenders who play a supposedly “subordinate” role in drug gangs may be given a community order if found supplying “small” quantities of drugs.

But under the proposed guideline from the Sentencing Council, that would include up to 50 grams of cocaine – or 50 “wraps” – up to a kilo of cannabis or 99 Ecstasy tablets.

So-called “drug mules” are also expected to be handed shorter sentences after the Council, the official body that guides courts on sentencing, warned they can be forced or tricked in to the crime. How do you trick someone into swallowing large quantities of drugs in condoms? Colour the condoms so they look like giant jelly beans!

Those convicted of possession offences may also avoid prison even if found with 10g of cocaine or heroin, or 20 Ecstasy pills. Can you ‘adam and eve’ that!

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