A bank worker stole from his employer to give to a poor family – in a crime reminiscent of the legend of Robin Hood.
Lloyds Bank employee Scott Rutter siphoned £143,000 into the accounts of the debt-ridden Parsons family because he felt sorry for them.
The 32-year-old, of Compton Terrace, Harehills, Leeds, was their personal banking manager when he made the bogus interest payments over two and a half years.
A court heard he never pocketed a penny himself.
He even continued to give them his own money after being sacked.
Handing him a 12-month suspended prison sentence, Recorder Francis Laird QC said: “I have found this case extremely troubling and puzzling.
“I am just persuaded to pass a merciful sentence. You have been extremely fortunate today. Do not let me down.”
Prosecutor David Chrimes told St Albans Crown Court Rutter had made 382 payments into the family’s accounts.
After he was sacked by Lloyds in February 2009 he paid out his own cash.
The theft came to light last year and Rutter immediately admitted responsibility.
Mr Chrimes said: “He said he suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder and he had he felt sorry for the family.
“What is most unusual about this case is that there is no evidence that he gained a penny for himself.”
He said Rutter had little contact with the family out of the bank, but had attended the 50th birthday party of one of them.
Alex Radley, mitigating, said: “It is a remarkable case. There had been a desperate plea to him to help with a solution to the family’s debt and financial problems.
“They were his private customers and had a large overdraft, bank loans and a very large mortgage.
“He tried to assist them by giving the family a consolidation loan. Then he felt he made their situation worse by making them more vulnerable to debt.
“He thought Mrs Parsons was becoming suicidal and he felt he should help. “
Rutter, who had no other convictions, pleaded guilty to theft while employed at the bank’s branches in Dunstable, Luton, Hemel Hempstead and Edgware.
He was ordered to carry out 300 hours’ unpaid work within the next year and was given a curfew to be at home between 9pm and 6am for the next four months.