News ‘Greedy’ youth worker avoids jail

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

Teresa Tay­lor then tried to put blame onto an in­no­cent trustee of the club when she was caught ly­ing.

Tay­lor, 38, of Pren­tice Close, Rugby, de­nied steal­ing from the Folly Youth Club in Long Law­ford, which a judge at War­wick Crown Court heard has since closed down.

She was con­victed af­ter a trial last month, but fol­low­ing an ad­journ­ment for a pre-sen­tence re­port to be pre­pared on her, she was saved from go­ing to jail only for the sake of her own young daugh­ter.

In­stead Tay­lor, who had helped set up the club in 2012, was sen­tenced to 12 months in prison sus­pended for two years and or­dered to do 180 hours of un­paid work.

The court heard she ran the Folly, which stands for Fo­cus on Long Law­ford Youth, with two other women and in 2015 they ob­tained a De­vel­op­ment Fund grant for £10,000 for im­prove­ments to the build­ing and run­ning costs.

She called on the as­sis­tance of Wil­liam Clemmy from the War­wick­shire As­so­ci­a­tion of Youth Clubs, and he got Methodist min­is­ter Rev Clive Fowle in­volved, as co-trustees.

But in the space of seven months be­tween Oc­to­ber 2015 and April the fol­low­ing year, Tay­lor stole a to­tal of £6,438.

She did so by mak­ing reg­u­lar cash with­drawals from the Folly ac­count for sums of be­tween £100 and £500 at a time, as well as mak­ing di­rect debit pay­ments from it for her car tax.

Ob­serv­ing that the club has since failed, Deputy Judge Richard Grif­fithJones asked: “To what ex­tent is it at­trib­ut­able to her theft in gross breach of trust?”

Pros­e­cu­tor Ian Win­dridge said the club build­ing had not been in good con­di­tion and com­mented: “Whether it would have failed any­way may be a moot point.

“I don’t think her ac­tions would have pre­cip­i­tated its fail­ure, but they af­fected its abil­ity to func­tion, be­cause it didn’t have the funds it should have had.

“It is a breach of a high de­gree of trust and her de­fence was blam­ing a wholly in­no­cent trustee of the club.”

Of Tay­lor’s at­tempts dur­ing her trial to put the blame on Mr Clemmy, the judge said that in re­la­tion to sen­tenc­ing, it may leave her with no credit, but could not make her po­si­tion worse.

Sarah Hol­land, de­fend­ing, sub­mit­ted: “Clearly she was con­victed af­ter a trial and is not en­ti­tled to any credit, but it is a sen­tence which is ca­pa­ble of be­ing sus­pended.”

She pointed out Tay­lor had just one pre­vi­ous con­vic­tion, which was for a shop theft in 2004, and has lost her job as a youth worker as a re­sult of the lat­est con­vic­tion.

Miss Hol­land said a cus­to­dial sen­tence would have an ef­fect on Tay­lor’s young daugh­ter, “who has been brought up al­most ex­clu­sively by her”, and was not aware of the pro­ceed­ings.

Sen­tenc­ing Tay­lor, the judge told her: “I have in­di­cated al­ready how I much ab­hor the de­spi­ca­ble way in which you con­ducted your de­fence. It leaves you with not a shred of credit.

“It is a bit­ter irony for me as a judge, and for the pub­lic, that your dis­ser­vice to the lo­cal youth is linked to the best piece of mit­i­ga­tion, your daugh­ter. It is her youth which means I am not go­ing to pass an im­me­di­ate sen­tence. If it was not for that, you would have gone down those stairs for 12 months.”

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