Mum-of-three stole £3,800 from a Portsmouth infants school

A MUM wept in court as she was prosecuted for stealing nearly £4,000 from an infant school.

Saturday, 9th March 2019, 3:45 pm
Updated Friday, 29th March 2019, 7:19 pm
Manor Infant School. Picture: Google

Dee'ann Rose ran the Parents Teacher Association at Manor Infants School between 2014 and 2017 while her twin daughters were taught at the Fratton school.

But thousands of pounds raised at Christmas fairs and summer events never reached the school's bank - instead going into mum-of-three Rose's account to pay for the 'basics of living'.

Ashamed Rose wept at Portsmouth Crown Court as her barrister Mary Aspinall-Miles revealed the defendant's nine-year-old twins are taunted in the playground over the theft.

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Her friends' parents refuse to allow them to play with Rose's children, she added.

Judge David Melville QC spared Rose from jail - ruling it was 'pointless' to order her to pay back the money 'frittered away' as she was already £10,000 in debt.

But he said: 'This was, of course, disgraceful and over a period of time you had taken the money and spent it when you should have at least been putting it to one side and be able to return it or resign from the position on the basis that you couldn't manage.'

Judge Melville imposed a one-year prison sentence suspended for two years with 20 days of rehabilitation activities.

'It's a very serious matter, you were in a position where everybody trusted you and you undermined their trust in behaving in the way you did,' judge Melville added.

Deceptive Rose's theft came to light when her children left the school and she quit the PTA.

Headteacher Ashley Howard asked her face-to-face to return any leftover cash, as there wasn't a PTA bank account, and even followed it up with an e-mail asking for the money.

But Rose ignored it - and later told police Mr Howard told her to hang on to the money. Rose admitted theft of £3,857.

Addressing the judge, Ms Aspinall Miles said: 'All in all an unholy mess your honour, but one that she is facing up to.'

The lawyer added there 'didn't seem to be any financial checks' and Rose, a single mum who is a victim of domestic abuse, had repeatedly tried to open a community bank account to safeguard the cash - which she eventually stole.

Ms Aspinall-Miles said: 'The reality is that she is ashamed that she has brought it not only in herself but on her daughters, particularly the two youngest ones whose school friends taunt then about what has happened, whose parents refuse to let them have anything more to do with them.

'It's had a significant impact on the family. So the punishment has already started in a tangible way.'

Mr Howard said after the case: ‘Our school community feels let down. This was somebody we trusted implicitly - the thought of her doing something like this would never have crossed our minds, we feel that she has betrayed our trust.

‘The money stolen had already been allocated to purchase items for the school which would improve facilities and resources for both the school and the children themselves. It may not be a fortune to some, but it would have bought simple things like equipment and learning tools, art materials and books. The saddest part is that it's the children themselves who miss out the most due to what's happened.‘We would like to thank the police for their support during what has been a very difficult time for the school.’