Original article no longer available
by PETER RICHARDSON
A GRIEVING cafe manager stole £5,000 of her employer’s takings, squandered it in shops within hours and then tried to commit suicide in a hotel, a court has heard.
Nicola Lambie disappeared on her way to the bank with bags of cash from the Druckers Cafe, in Coopers Square, Burton.
When she failed to turn up for work the following morning, she was reported missing and police began a search for her, Stafford Crown Court was told.
Pat Sullivan, prosecuting, said Lambie, who had worked at Druckers for six years, was taking £5,027 five days’ takings to HSBC Bank on April 22, but never arrived.
Her barrister, Stephen Thomas, said Lambie, who was unable to deal with the death of her former boyfriend Steve Hackett last year, had checked into a hotel intending to commit suicide. “This offence was not pre-planned. She cannot say at what time in the afternoon she suddenly decided to take the money. She could never have got away with it. She went on a spending spree. She blew the entire £5,000 and it is all a haze to her.
“By 6pm she checked into the Fradley Arms Hotel and took a cocktail of sleeping tablets and anti-depressants, together with a combination of alcohol.
“It didn’t work because the alcohol made her sick. She woke up in the hotel and went home.”
She told police she was heavily in debt with mortgage arrears and had intended to use the stolen money to pay those off, but decided instead to spend it.
Apart from £500 of clothes, she refused to say where the rest of the money had gone. She said she was depressed following the death of Mr Hackett and had tried to take her own life.
Lambie, 25, of Bretby Road, Newhall, who admitted a charge of theft, was given a six-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to pay Druckers £4,013 compensation the cash she stole less the wages she was owed.
Judge John Wait told her: “You were deeply upset at the time and I am sure this offence would not have happened in ordinary circumstances.”
Mr Hackett, 26, a well-known referee on Burton and South Derbyshire’s amateur football scene, was found dead at his home in Park Road, Newhall, on November 22.
His parents, Dave and Julie Hackett, discovered their youngest son’s body in the bathroom of the home he shared with them. The cause of his death remains unclear.