Lottery winners’ daughter avoids jail after paying back stolen nursery cash

Sam Crossland. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Sam Crossland. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
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The daughter of West Yorkshire lottery millionaires who stole more than £22,000 from a children’s nursery has escaped jail - after the cash was paid back.

Samantha Crossland, 30, stole from a cash box containing parents’ fees being paid to Dewsbury’s Child’s Play day nursery, where she worked at in a position of “significant trust”.

She had been told she faced a custodial sentence unless the money was paid back and Crossland - whose parents won more than £1m on the lottery - paid back the sum.

Nursery owner Lynda Quigley confirmed that the amount stolen - £22,642 - had been paid into her bank account on from an “S. Crossland”. It was not clear whether this was Samantha - or her mother Susan Crossland.

Crossland had even been promoted to manager at the nursery by its owner who knew her and trusted her.

Much of the money was taken from a cash box on the wall that parents left their fees in. Leeds Crown Court court heard that only Crossland and Mrs Quigley had keys to this.

Mrs Quigley became aware of £22,642 of discrepancies in the accounts early in 2014.

Crossland was arrested and gave no comment in four police interviews. She later pleaded guilty to one count of theft.

The court heard today that Mrs Quigley had received £22,643 via bank transfer on Wednesday April 22.

Crossland, of Mirfield, West Yorkshire, was sentenced to a 12 month community order and 180 hours unpaid work.

Recorder Ray Singh said: “You were in a position of significant trust by Miss Quigley. You were left alone to deal with the money, it is therefore a breach of trust.

“Staff parents and the like were no doubt finding it very difficult to understand what was happening.”

After the hearing, Mrs Quigley, who has had the nursery for 14 years, said: “I feel really relieved that I’m finally going to get closure now that the court case has finished and the money taken has been repaid in full.

“I’m happy that justice has been served after what has been a very difficult year.

“But I still have no idea why she did this to me - why a good friend would betray me like this.”

Crossland’s parents, Susan and Michael, of Mirfield, won £1.2m on the lottery in 2008.

At the time of their win, Susan said she believed her £1,218,618 windfall was down to her late father Barrie - as she played his numbers each week in the two years since he had died.

Speaking in July 2008, she said: “Just two days before the win, we were tickling my dog Ruby at home and a white feather just floated down from nowhere and landed on her tummy. I knew it was dad trying to say something.

“I feel he is looking out for me and he would have been so pleased for us.

“It’s a real shame he isn’t here to share the winnings with us after he helped us to get it.”