Former manager of a not-for-profit Mixenden "community centre" faces jail over £28,000 theft

Elizabeth Childs had been the manager at the Mixenden Parents Resource Centre for about 17 years
Elizabeth Childs had been the manager at the Mixenden Parents Resource Centre for about 17 years

A Halifax woman who stole more than £28,000 from a not-for-profit "community centre" where she was employed as the manager has been told she faces a prison sentence when she comes back to court next month.

Elizabeth Childs, 65, who had been the manager at the Mixenden Parents Resource Centre for about 17 years, had admitted stealing £2,300 from its funds before her trial began at Bradford Crown Court this week, but this afternoon (Friday) a jury found her guilty of seven more theft charges totalling a further £25,820.

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Childs, who had no previous convictions, insisted she had not stolen any further money and described her workload at the centre as “horrendous” when she gave evidence to the jury yesterday.

But after about 90 minutes deliberation the jury returned their unanimous guilty verdicts on all seven allegations.

Childs, of Heather Drive, Mount Tabor, Halifax, claimed the £2300 which had been transferred into her account had been "a loan" which she had intended to pay back.

She explained that after her husband’s hours were cut the couple had debt problems and she took the money at a time when the bank was telling her she needed to put money in her account.

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“I couldn’t think of any other way out,” she told the jury.

An audit undertaken after Childs’ suspension uncovered yearly discrepancies in the accounts totalling more than £25,000, but she denied stealing any further sums.

Childs described her workload at the charitable organisation as “horrendous” and accepted that she had got behind with the paperwork.

At the start of the trial the jury heard that Childs was paid a salary of £27,000 and prosecutor Duncan Ritchie alleged that her debts and gambling habit were "motive enough" for to steal from her employer.

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The resource centre which received lottery funding and some money from other sources had subsequently shut down.

After the jury returned their verdicts barrister Abigail Langford submitted that a pre-sentence report should be prepared on her client and Recorder Keith Miller agreed to grant Childs bail until April 5.

But the judge suggested that Childs should "get her affairs in order" because she would almost inevitably be receiving a prison sentence for the offending.

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