The following article is from the Manchester Evening News and headlined “Jailed: Governor who fleeced school” and can be found originally here. The person in question is Amanda Cauldwell who, I now assume, used to be our politics undergraduate secretary, and has now been jailed for 8 months after admitting to 18 accounts of theft ammounting to £12’000 from the primary school she used to work at. Read on…
Jailed: Governor who fleeced school
A SCHEMING school governor who pocketed Comic Relief cash raised by young pupils is beginning a prison term.
Trusted finance officer Amanda Cauldwell, 31, stole around £12,000 from the Bolton primary school where she worked and spent it on an extravagant lifestyle including luxury foreign holidays. She fiddled overtime forms, siphoned off cash from a book fair, pinched a £175 deposit raised for a staff Christmas party, took £681 contributed by parents towards school trips – and even raided the dinner ladies’ Christmas saving fund.
But her most sickening crime came when she stole more than £1,000 raised by pupils who staged a sponsored walk and other events for the Comic Relief charity.
Today she is behind bars after a Bolton Crown Court judge sentenced her to eight months in jail for her “cold and calculating” crimes. The court heard her deception had stunned staff and parents at the 500-pupil Lever Edge County Primary School.
Head teacher Frances Barry said many of the children came from deprived backgrounds where parents would go without at home to help their education.
She told the court: “It is fair to say that the parental base are among the least affluent members of the area and no doubt every penny of their income is vital to their day-to-day lives.
“It was always wondered where her money was coming from. Now we know. She has knocked this school for six.”
Cauldwell, 31, of Ivanhoe Court, Bolton, now an assistant to a leading professor at Manchester University, admitted 18 counts of theft.
She worked as a classroom assistant then as an administrative officer before becoming finance officer in June 2001. She worked at the school for a total of seven years and was appointed a school governor.
The court was told the offences occurred between December 2003 and February 2005 when she left to take up the university post.
Cauldwell covered her tracks by writing school cheques out to the petty cash account, which effectively deprived the school of funds at the same time as lining her own pockets. An investigation found she had written cheques totalling £3,631.
Adrian Farrow, prosecuting, said: “She held a position of high regard and trust within the school family. She took advantage of her access to the school’s finances and records and her trusted position in order to steal from the school and funds held by the school.”
He said the deception came crashing down when a £2,568 cheque drawn out to the school for a supplier raised suspicion.
A local authority investigation found she had claimed around £1,200 in overtime payments to which she was not entitled.
Cauldwell had also taken £650 from a fund set up by dinner ladies and kitchen staff to save up for Christmas.
She took a £175 deposit which had been raised to pay a hotel for a staff Christmas party and also pocketed money pupils had paid for books at a book fair.
But the most shocking crime was the theft of more than £1,000 pupils had raised for Comic Relief.
Head teacher Mrs Barry said pupils would never be told where the money went.
The court heard Cauldwell, who earned around £20,000 a year, refused to comment in police interviews and was charged. It was discovered she had used some of her cash to pay for expensive holidays to New York and Spain.
David Farley, defending, said Cauldwell, who is married to a warehouse worker and has a 22-year-old stepdaughter, was heavily in debt throughout the period of her deceit.
“She is ashamed and embarrassed,” he said.
“She has admitted the allegations quite bravely and accepted what she did. She proffers a genuine feeling of remorse.”
Recorder Nicholas Clarke QC told Cauldwell, who was sobbing as she was led away: “You stole to satisfy your greed.
“Then, in a cold and calculating way, you tried to cover your tracks.”
Cauldwell is also facing hearings under the Proceeds of Crime Act to recover the money.
© Copyright 2006 Manchester Evening News.