Woman, 61, steals $28,000 from school — (The Fraser Coast Chronicle)

SSRI Ed note: Woman with no record takes antidepressants, steals money, makes no attempt to hide the crime, loses job, stays home, cannot repay funds,

Original article no longer available

The Fraser Coast Chronicle

November 03, 2008

A 61-year-old Hervey Bay woman broke the trust of her employer after stealing nearly $28,000, a court was told.

Judge Hugh Botting said he had taken into account “numerous pressures” Patricia May Nash had been under when he sentenced her to serve six months of a two-year jail sentence.

Nash, of Urangan, pleaded guilty in the Hervey Bay District Court, to stealing money from the Kosh Club, an out-of-school care group at Sandy Strait State School, between February 2002 and March 2003.

Defence barrister Katarina Prskalo said her client was on anti-depressants following a car crash and further, was under stress after a conviction had been recorded against her husband over an unrelated offence.

Ms Prskalo said Nash had not been functioning socially while she committed the crime.

A doctor’s report showed Nash had been “operating under great strain during the period”.

Judge Botting said Nash, who had no prior convictions, had made no attempt to disguise the theft.

The stealing came to light when Nash’s employers queried why funds in the bank did not match received funds.

Ms Prskalo said Nash was unable to return the stolen money because she had not worked for the past two years due to anxiety and depression.

“She is unable to work and, as I understand, unable to leave her house,” she said.

In handing down his sentence Judge Botting said a period of imprisonment must be imposed when offences involved “a serious break of trust”.