Bank worker jailed for thefts

 

A trusted bank worker, charity volunteer and church warden was jailed for two-and-a-half years today for stealing £167,000 from the old and vulnerable.

Gaynor Russ, 59, was the friendly face of banking for 40 years at a small south Wales valley branch of Barclays.

Her informal way of handling accounts was seen by many as a pleasant throwback to a bygone age and trust in her was high.

She was unmasked today as a cynical manipulator who preyed on friends and the old and vulnerable in an effort to plunder cash.

But her victims were shocked and angry at what they saw as a lenient sentence handed down at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court.

Russ had previously admitted 13 counts of fraud covering a 10-month period to 2008 at a hearing earlier this month.

Today the full scale of the double life she was forced to lead to hide her fraudulent activities was laid bare.

Russ, of Dumfries Street, Treorchy, south Wales, was counter manager at the nearby Treherbert branch of Barclays Bank.

Lucy Crowther, prosecuting, told the court that her fraudulent activities began in late 2007 and ran until November 2010.

The offences which she admitted, and were accepted by the prosecution, cover the more narrowly defined period.

Ms Crowther said that each offence was linked to a specific victim's account held at the branch.

The victims themselves were often so shocked when they learned of the deception they could not believe the truth.

Victim Sharon Thomas had charge of an account of her brother Michael Dobbs who suffered severe learning difficulties.

At least £20,000 went missing from his account in early August 2007, the bulk of which was later replaced over a series of years.

The court heard Russ moved large sums of cash in and out of a variety of accounts, juggling finances in an effort to hide her fraud.

She would find ways to delay customer statements to hide her activities and regularly had to step in to solve discrepancies.

Ms Crowther said that Mrs Thomas described Gaynor Russ as "an honest, very caring person. A good all-round Christian and a church warden,"

She added that Mrs Thomas she felt that Russ had targeted her brother's account because he would not understand what was going on.

The court was told that Russ targeted a long list of people and organisations.

They included a local hospital league of friends for which Russ acted as treasurer.

Another loser was former miner Garfield Beynon, 82, who had received a substantial pay out for ill health connected with his life down the mines.

Despite the fact that he struggled for breath and was spending part of every day on oxygen, Russ plundered his account to the tune of £55,000.

PA

Suggested Topics
Travel
travel
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
Manchester United are believed to have made a £15m bid for Marcos Rojo
sportWinger Nani returns to Lisbon for a season-long loan as part of deal
News
news
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
O'Toole as Cornelius Gallus in ‘Katherine of Alexandria’
filmSadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Life and Style
fashion
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment