Woman Jailed For Stealing £50,000 And Spending It On Drinking Tea

27 years old University admin worker Sophie O'Hara has been jailed for eight months after admitting stealing £50,000 and spending it on holidays and tea at the Ritz.

Miss O'Hara used her position in the science department at the University of East Anglia to sign fake student expenses slips which she then cashed into her own account.

Over the course of 17 months O'Hara stole a total of £50,504 which she spent on trips to Egypt, Florida and Madrid as well as an afternoon tea at the Ritz with her mother.

As part of her job O'Hara, who was paid
£16,000 year, was charged with signing off expense forms for students.

Chris Youell, prosecuting, said O'Hara wasn't a qualified accountant but was in a position of great trust and was authorised to sign for large sums of money.

When university staff discovered O'Hara had been paying funds into her own account, Mr Youell said she admitted what she'd done. He added: 'She was, however, somewhat surprised and upset as to how much money she had stolen.'

O'Hara admitted one charge of theft of cash from the UEA between March 2012 and October 2013 and was jailed for eight months.

Michael Clare, defending, said she suffered from a form of bipolar disorder but added: 'She does not want to use her difficulties as an excuse.

'She is very sorry indeed. She is unlikely to offend again.'

Jailing her at Norwich Crown Court today, Judge Anthony Bate said: 'It went undiscovered for some considerable time.

'You appear to have spent the money on
luxuries and foreign holidays and the like.'

The judge accepted O'Hara had 'mental health issues' but said they didn't excuse he conduct and said he would be failing in his public duty if he did not jail her.

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