Alleged gambler denies theft of £31,000 from Leeds school

Claire Mosby.
Claire Mosby.
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A primary school worker alleged to have stolen £31,000 of a Leeds school’s funds told a jury she was afraid to report cash going missing from a safe as she would be putting the headteacher under suspicion.

Claire Mosby, 38, an office manager at Swarcliffe Primary School, yesterday gave evidence at a trial at Leeds Crown Court, where she is accused of taking the cash from a safe over a two-year period.

The prosecution alleges the mother-of-three stole school funds and dinner money to pay debts and fund online gambling and bingo outings.

Mosby, of Swarcliffe Avenue, Leeds, denies theft.

Mosby said she first suspected money had gone missing from the school safe shortly before Christmas 2009, when she thought £500 had gone missing.

She told the court she failed to report the incident as she thought she may have been mistaken at the time.

Mosby, a former parent governor, said she was then sure cash had been taken in early 2010 when a larger sum went missing.

Asked by her barrister, James Lake, why she also failed to report the second incident, Mosby replied: “Because I couldn’t explain the first time. I knew I couldn’t explain the £500 going missing.

“At that time there was a lot going on in school. Susan Sanderson [the headteacher] was under pressure. I was under pressure.”

Mr Lake asked: “What was your concern about your position if you reported it?” Mosby replied: “I thought people would think it was me. I thought if I reported it I was accusing Susan Sanderson of taking it.”

The court heard Mosby spent around £2,000 on gaming websites during the period the alleged theft took place.

Mosby told the court how she sometimes went to Mecca bingo with her husband or would enjoy playing at home online.

Mr Lake asked: “Were you addicted to gambling?” Mosby replied: “No. It was just something I enjoyed doing. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke. It was something I enjoyed doing.”

The prosecution claims the missing money was from five accounts covering school meals and a voluntary fund which helped pay for pupil trips.

Cori Braham.

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