A hospice receptionist stole more than £6,000 from the charity after getting in to debt following a relationship breakdown.
Kathleen Gaughan, 51, was working for Wakefield Hospice when she plundered a total of £6,482 between October 2011 and June last year.
Gaughan, of Larchmere Gardens, Moor Grange, Leeds, appeared at Leeds Magistrates’ Court for sentence yesterday after earlier pleading guilty to theft by employee.
She was handed a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months and ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work.
Gaughan, who had worked for the hospice for a number of years but is now on benefits, must pay £5,000 in compensation to the charity.
After the hearing, Wakefield Hospice’s chief executive officer Karen Crawshaw confirmed she had been dismissed in July last year from her role as a receptionist for theft.
“Mrs Gaughan’s actions are to be deplored and have devastated the close-knit hospice team. We are pleased she has been made accountable for her actions,” she said.
Gaughan – who was smartly dressed in a grey jacket and black skirt – showed no emotion during the brief hearing.
Mitigating, James Littlehales said: “She is of previous good character. She loses that by her plea of guilty.
“She is genuinely remorseful and ashamed. She had separated from her then partner and she lost the family home. She had to live with a co-worker. She started to accrue debt and took money with the intention of paying it back. Matters escalated, snowballed. She took substantial sums of money and she concedes that.
“She has lost not only her employment. She is going to find it extremely difficulty at her age with this conviction to find employment again.”