Jailed Leeds PR firm clerk must pay £64,000

Kay Fearnley.

Kay Fearnley.

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An accounts clerk who stole almost £250,000 from the public relations firm where she worked has been ordered to pay them £64,000 in compensation.

Kay Fearnley, 55, was jailed for three years and nine months in March this year after she admitted stealing a total of £236,000 from Leeds-based Brahm PR to fund her gambling addiction.

Leeds Crown Court heard the offences took place over a six-year period until her deception was uncovered when she was made redundant.

Fearnley, of Lark Hill Road, Gledhow, Leeds, inputted her own bank account details on a list of payments which were to be made to clients.

After a payment was made into her account, she would then amend the list to remove her details and avoid detection.

She continued the deception until her final day working for the company after being made redundant.

Fearnley was brought back to court yesterday for a confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Christopher Terani, prosecuting, said Fearnley’s total benefit from the deception was £303,174. The total value of her available assets which could be seized was £64,909.

Mr Terani said that figure represented half the equity of her home, money held in two bank accounts and “tainted gifts” she had bought for family members.

Judge Penelope Belcher told Fearnley to pay the sum within six months or face having 21 months added to her sentence. The judge ordered that the money should be paid directly to Brahm as compensation.

At Fearnley’s sentencing hearing, the court much of the money had been spent on online gambling, credit cards, loans, holidays and shopping.

After her arrest, Fearnley lied that the money had been for her husband for work he had done for the company.

Graham Parkin, for Fearnley, said she initially took the money as she was addicted to gambling and believed she could win enough to pay it back.

Jailing her, judge Geoffrey Marson QC said: “Whatever happened to it, it was a gross breach of trust.

“It is a tragedy for you and for your family.“

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