HSBC to pursue estate of cash thief clerk Bindi Dhanji

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The Independent Online

The former employer of a bank clerk who killed herself after fleeing court moments before she was due to be sentenced for stealing £120,000 will pursue her estate for the missing cash, a court heard today.

Former HSBC worker Bindi Dhanji, 31, and her husband Kishore were found hanging from a footbridge near her home on the morning of March 17.

Dhanji, of North Circular Road, Neasden, north London, was facing up to six years in jail after earlier admitting two counts of theft by an employee.

But she vanished from court with her husband on March 16 and a bench warrant was issued by Judge Anthony Pitts for her arrest.

Her body was found near the busy A406 Staples Corner junction shortly before 7am the following day.

Today, Noel Shaw, prosecuting, said HSBC would pursue civil proceedings to recover the missing cash after all criminal proceedings were officially closed.

He told Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC, the Honorary Recorder of Westminster: "I would wish to advise Your Lordship of the fact that confiscation proceedings will not continue.

"There will be civil proceedings."

Earlier, after being told of Dhanji's death, Judge Rivlin told Southwark Crown Court in London: "I'm obviously extremely sorry to hear about this.

"I think that the hearing was held on March 16 before His Honour Judge Pitts and I know that he too is extremely sorry to hear about this."

Speaking after she disappeared from the court last month, Dhanji's barrister Richard Perry said: "She seemed to be, I thought, fairly stoical about the outcome."

A source close to the case said Mr Dhanji felt he could not cope without his wife after hearing she faced a sentence of at least two years in prison.

Dhanji stole thousands from the accounts of two pensioners while working at branches in Notting Hill Gate and Portobello Road in west London.

She was finally caught when suspicions were aroused as she continued to withdraw money when one of the clients had died.

Relatives of the dead woman complained to HSBC that Dhanji was refusing them access to statements and account details.

An internal inquiry was launched linking Dhanji to the theft of £55,000 from one account and about £65,000 from another. She was confronted and confessed.

She claimed a man had threatened her with violence unless she gave him regular cash payments. HSBC reimbursed the accounts of both victims.