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Dogs Trust shop manager stole £26,000

Disgraced former employee in 'position of trust' faces possible jail sentence

John Garvey


01635 886628

Court No.1 New

A MANAGER at The Dogs Trust shop in Newbury has admitted cheating the charity out of more than £26,000.

Donna Louise Richardson, 42, siphoned off the cash over a six-month period and was only caught due to an internal audit, Reading magistrates heard last Thursday.

But her solicitor said the mother-of- two, who was educated at Shaw House, was a victim herself because she was struggling financially and her wages didn’t cover the bills.

Helen Gambrill, prosecuting, said Ms Richardson was responsible for banking all cash and cheques generated by the store and had betrayed the position of trust she had enjoyed.

She added that, when her crime was discovered, Ms Richardson did not show up for work or reply to messages.

When trust bosses were unable to contact Ms Richardson, who lives at Kersey Crescent, Speen, police were called in, the court heard.

Ms Gambrill urged magistrates to send Ms Richardson to the crown court to be sentenced, where the powers of punishment are greater.

She said: “The offence is aggravated by the fact the Dogs Trust is a charity and the defendant was in a position of trust.”

Ms Richardson admitted stealing cheques and cash together worth £26,185.30 from the charity between September 24 last year and April 19 this year.

Steve Molloy, defending, said his client had no previous convictions and suggested she was “in effect, a victim of modern society where the cost of even the most basic living standard outstrips wages”.

He explained that her minimum wage income did not cover the basic household bills.

Mr Molloy added: “She was wracked with debts and the money she was earning was effectively the minimum wage.

“Her outgoings on rent, water and council tax, plus the cost of bringing up two daughters, was outstripping her income.

“Her car had been clamped by a debt collection company; bailiffs were visiting and there was a possession order on her house which was going to render her homeless – this was a woman in desperation.”

He urged magistrates, if they were considering a period of imprisonment, to suspend such a sentence.

However, the court clerk reminded magistrates that their guidelines suggested the “starting point” for such an offence was two years in jail.

Magistrates conceded that the offence potentially attracted a greater sentence than their own powers of punishment allowed.

Ms Richardson was told she was being committed to Reading Crown Court to be sentenced by a judge there.

She was meanwhile released on unconditional bail.

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Article comments

  • Ihavenonickname

    23/07/2018 - 18:06

    There are many who are 'desperate' and earning the Minimum Wage! It takes a caniving dispicable thief to steal to that extent from their employer! Sorry, but I don't buy your plea for clemency! Hope she gets the custodial sentence she deserves!


  • drago_buster

    23/07/2018 - 12:12

    why all the hate comments it doesn't help anyone. and before you go saying oh she's in a Lamborghini check the situation and how cause that's a prom and a notice in a local club lets prom kids have a free ride so people can feel special for there night. and if you don't know all the facts you cant assume anything is nonsense. and I'm pretty sure anyone would try to protect there family if they were in danger (yes it wasn't the right way ) insulting them could cause horrible things to happen to the kids so just let the court decide and don't use the internet to start attacking a family please


  • zmjrc

    23/07/2018 - 11:11

    Stealing from a charity, how low can you get? Maybe, before you go playing the 'I was desperate' card, it'd be a decent idea to remove the picture taken 3 weeks ago of your daughter sat in a Lamborghini from your Facebook... Hope she gets what she deserves, but no doubt courts will eat up her nonsense sob story and she'll get a suspended sentence.


  • zmjrc

    23/07/2018 - 11:11

    Absolute scum. Hope she gets what she deserves.