Tears as cheating manager is jailed

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A mum wept as she was jailed for stealing almost £18,000 from her employer.

Karen Butler, 44, shook violently as she was led to the cells to serve 12 months in prison.

Butler, of Bobbin Mill Close, Todmorden, admitted defrauding Hebden Bridge- based Eco Heat and Power of £17,715.

She had been office manager of the small firm, which employed five staff.

She carried out the fraud by using the company credit card of another employee after he left the firm.

Instead of destroying the card, Butler used it to pay for shopping, rent, council tax and even to buy a laptop.

She adjusted the books to cover her tracks and even used the company computer to buy goods online.

She also pocketed £600 from a customer who visited the office.

Butler was found out when managing director Andrew Hodchild looked at her internet usage and found she had been visiting shopping sites.

She was arrested and told police she had taken the money because she was “skint.”

Stephanie Hancock, prosecuting, told Bradford Crown Court that Mr Hodchild’s business was still suffering.

“As well as the financial loss, the incident has caused him to lose faith in people and has unsettled staff,” she said.

Michael Jowett, defending, said Butler was a single mum who had been bringing up her son, now 17.

“Her ex-husband was the main breadwinner and she had £20,000 of debt.”

Butler had recently started a foundation degree in politics and history, but Recorder Felicity Davies said: “You seem to have found the funds to take on what some would regard as the pleasure of middle-aged academic life.”

“You were motivated by greed, not need.”