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‘Compulsive’ shopper took £300,000 for habit
5:00pm Friday 18th January 2013 in News
A WOMAN who stole almost £300,000 from her employers to satisfy a “psychological compulsion” to shop has been jailed.
Nicola Saxelby, who bought thousands of pounds worth of goods she never even took out of the box, worked for the Hawkins family in Withington for 16 years.
From 2005 to 2011, the 49- year-old mother, of Browning Road, Ledbury, pocketed thousands of pounds from the farming family, taking cash and duping them into signing cheques made out to her.
At Hereford Crown Court on Monday, Judge Toby Hooper QC heard how Saxelby spent the money on goods from Joules, Barbour, Marks & Spencer and Principles.
When police searched her home they found “dozens and dozens of boxes” of unopened shopping.
“There were rooms there full of boxes piled high,” said Andrew Wallace, prosecuting.
“There was thousands of pounds worth of goods that had never seen the outside of the box.”
Saxleby was “completely oblivious” to the harm she caused, even as the Hawkins family sold off their dairy farm and herd to stem spiralling debt.
She cashed a total of 314 fradulent cheques between 2005 and 2008.
“She would simply put these under the noses of the Hawkins and they would sign them not aware they were being bled dry by her,” said Mr Wallace.
“This was endemic. There was a lot of planning.”
Saxleby wrote cheques for odd amounts, such as £13,953.15, to make them appear genuine.
When interviewed she could not explain how £300,000 had gone through her account when she was paid only £14,500 a year.
Andrew Weston, defending, said Saxleby was not stealing to fund a lavish lifestyle, but instead to satisfy a compulsion she had.
“The psychological report goes some way to explain what can only be described as an extraordinary extent of shopping that she engaged in.
“She was buying things she had no intention of using or wearing.
“The motivation was this compulsion to go and shop and that’s really why she was stealing.”
Judge Hooper jailed Saxleby for a total of two years.
She had pleaded guilty to theft, fraud and false accounting on the basis she stole £289,777.