Suspended sentence for nanny thief

 

A nanny who stole more than £6,000 from an heiress has avoided an immediate jail sentence.

Beatrice Kate Dalton plundered the bank account of Lady Louisa Collings, heiress to the sprawling Goodwood estate, in west Sussex.

The £7-an-hour nanny insisted she had only ever taken cash which she was already owed.

Lady Louisa, daughter of the 10th Duke of Richmond, employed Dalton to look after her four children at her country home in Prestigne, mid Wales.

Dalton was treated as one of the family and given a second-hand Peugeot car in gratitude for her loyal service, a court heard.

But the aristocratic couple called in the police after discovering more than £12,000 missing from their private accounts.

Dalton, of Harbour View Road, Penarth, admitted to "hating being poor" and felt embarrassed by the gift - so she stopped claiming her weekly wage in a bid to pay for it herself.

When she found she could not live without an income she claimed she began helping herself to cash she calculated was "owed" to her.

Dalton, 25, had faced six separate charges for fraud, amounting to more than £12,000, covering a period between April 2009 and 2010.

She was cleared of five counts.

The single charge of which she was found guilty, which was the most serious, was that of using a Barclaycard to dishonestly withdraw £6,600.

Today, Judge Richard Twomlow said Dalton had abused the trust of the Collings family in "a cynical and disgraceful way".

He said the offence was so serious that a jail term was justified - but opted to suspend her sentence.

"While the Collings family had no financial problems, their day to day financial management was not particularly organised," he added.

"They regarded you not as employer but more as a friend and they rewarded you by buying a car.

"It's difficult to see how they could have treated you any better.

"Your actions were motivated by greed.

"The seriousness of this offence was not the amount that you took, but the way in which you breached their trust."

Judge Twomlow also said Dalton, who pleaded her innocence throughout her trial last month, had showed a "callous disregard for the truth".

He imposed a 12 month custodial sentence, suspended for a year.

Dalton - who left Merthyr Crown Court in tears - will also have to pay £4,800 compensation and £3,500 in costs as well as undertaking 250 hours of unpaid work.

Her barrister, Simon Phillips, told the court his client will pay the compensation and costs within the next three months.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
News
Comedian Ted Robbins collapsed on stage during a performance of Phoenix Nights Live at Manchester Arena (Rex)
people
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links