Irlam head took cash raised by pupils and parents from school fund
ATRUSTED head who stole thousands of pounds from her school’s accounts has walked free from court.
Valerie Rutty, 60, former head at Irlam Primary School in Salford, plundered cash from an account titled ‘Irlam Primary School Fund’ for almost four years. The money had been raised by parents and pupils through fetes and nonuniform days and was for school trips and football kits.
Rutty, who had no previous convictions, took £3,469 between December 2010 and last May. She pleaded guilty to a single count of theft.
Manchester Crown Court was told her theft emerged last August after an anonymous letter was sent to a member of staff saying she had been plun- dering the accounts. Auditors were called in and documents and invoices seized. Amendments to invoices were discovered.
One was from a landscape gardening company and Juliet Berry, prosecuting, said analysis of that document led auditors to examine the entire school’s accounts.
Invoices, cheque books and paying-in slips were assessed and fraudulent transactions found, the court heard.
Ms Berry said: “It became apparent that she had amended invoices by increasing the amounts and written out cheques for the difference which were paid into her account. There were nine transactions over a near four-year period.”
The highest payment was £475, with the lowest £170.
Rutty, of Woolmer Close, Warrington, was suspended at the beginning of the autumn term last year. She has paid all the money back.
In a statement to the court, the school said it was ‘in desperate need’ of the funds and staff and parents worked ‘very hard’ to raise the money, which was earmarked for play facilities and a stage.
Rutty sobbed in the dock as she was jailed for four months, suspended for 12 months, with 70 hours of unpaid work and £500 costs. It wasn’t revealed why she stole the money.
Judge Robert Atherton said teachers and parents ‘felt a level of personal betrayal’.
He said Rutty has ‘marred’ her career and added: “I do hope parents do not withdraw their support. They play such an important part in the family of the school. It would be very sad if this offence undermined the good works people are carrying out, both the staff and the parents.” A new head is now in place.
●●Valerie Rutty former head at Irlam Primary School