Grandmother jailed for stealing pounds 1m at work

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The Independent Online
A 'CHARMING' grandmother who stole almost pounds 1m from a firm of auctioneers has been jailed for four years.

Dinah Taylor, 62, stole the money from her employers to feed her lavish lifestyle, and also attempted to buy one of Britain's oldest pubs for pounds 650,000. She told friends she had inherited the cash from a rich aunt in the US.

Judge Peter Crawford QC, said: 'This is one of the worst frauds I have ever come across. You managed to steal over pounds 900,000, of which pounds 250,000 has wholly disappeared.' Taylor, of Seven Star Road, Solihull, admitted eight specimen charges of theft over an 18- month period.

Within weeks of starting work as a book-keeper at Stevens, Champion & Slater in Birmingham in 1991, she got partners to sign cheques made out to clients, but in ink that could be erased. Taylor then rubbed out the names, substituted that of her husband, and put the cheques into an account she shared with him.

Taylor made a failed bid to buy the 14th century Cott Inn in Dartington, south Devon, last March. She paid a pounds 30,000 deposit but the deal was stopped by the police.

The theft was discovered when the books were found to be regularly incorrect. One partner told the court she had always been charming and pleasant - he was 'devastated' by the discovery.