A SHAMED administrator who secretly pilfered tens of thousands of pounds from a primary school’s coffers into her own bank account has dodged jail.
Fraudster Tamasin Gregory stole £31,128.79 from Redlands Primary School over a three-year period from April 2014, Portsmouth Crown Court heard on Friday.
As the school’s business manager, the 45-year-old callously siphoned parents' money for school trips and activities into her own account on 91 separate occasions.
But it was not until she took the same role at another school in 2017 that her replacement discovered stark inconsistencies between money paid to Redlands and money banked.
Prosecuting, Rob Griffiths said: ‘The new business manager notified the county council. An auditor went to the school, identified discrepancies and wrote to the defendant asking her to attend an interview.
‘[Gregory] said by email she could not attend but on June 13 resigned at her new school with immediate effect.’
When later questioned by police Gregory said nothing, but an investigation unearthed 41 occasions when giro slips did not add up to recorded funds paid in by parents.
As many as 14 more were found with paper sections missing and there were four occasions when money paid in was not banked at all.
Mitigating, Adam Norris said Gregory, of East Stratton, had worked at Redlands ‘absolutely blamelessly’ since 2007 but turned to fraud because of her husband’s battle with addiction.
‘She got married in 2011, they managed their finances together, but he took to drugs and her life started falling apart because he no longer contributed financially,’ he said.
‘Because she was ashamed, she tried to find a way out of the hole her family was in. She told nobody.’
Gregory, whose children have moved out of the family home, pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court in December.
As she was handed a two-year suspended jail sentence yesterday, Mr Norris said Gregory was ‘extremely remorseful’ for her crimes.
Judge Roger Hetherington said: ‘Given that you have no previous convictions I think this is a case for suspending a sentence – it is not appropriate for a community order.’
A confiscation hearing will take place in May to determine how much Gregory must pay back to Redlands Primary School.
Detective Constable Charlie Cox, who investigated Gregory’s case, said: ‘This was a crime committed by someone trusted by parents, by pupils and by the school to look after monies passed to her.
‘Gregory abused that trust and systematically stole from the school over a three-year period much needed money to support her own lifestyle.
‘I am delighted that she has been brought to justice and hope that the sentence and the publicity surrounding the sentence will serve as a warning to others who might be tempted to steal from those who have placed in them their trust.’
Figures from Redlands Primary School attended yesterday’s sentencing.
A spokesperson for Hampshire County Council said: ‘Thankfully, incidences of fraud in Hampshire schools are rare but the impact, as in this case, is significant.
‘It affects not just the school’s budget and reputation but also parental trust and the educational experiences of the children.
‘It is reassuring that the individual at the centre of this case has been brought to justice today in the conclusion of criminal proceedings.’
Gregory will pay a victim surcharge, complete 100 hours of unpaid work and attend 10 days of rehabilitation activities.