Suspended jail term for memorial fund thief Natalie Thomas

Natalie Thomas The money was supposed to go towards a hospital's children's wing

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A woman who stole £8,500 from a friend's memorial fund has been given a two-year suspended jail sentence.

Natalie Thomas, 25, of Whitland, Carmarthenshire, took the money from the Bandi Appeal, set up after Laura Rees died in a car crash in 2012.

The money was for a new sick children's unit at Glangwili Hospital but Thomas admitted "dipping into the fund".

Swansea Crown Court heard the money has been repaid after another friend took out a loan for Thomas.

Ms Rees, 22, a nursery worker from St Clears, near Carmarthen, died on the A40 her way to be fitted for a bridesmaid dress.

Her friends decided to raise money in her name and Thomas organised a charity night, which raised more than £10,000.

But after stealing from the fund, Thomas, who had received treatment for depression because her mother and grandfather were ill, found she could not pay the money back.

In sentencing, Mr Justice Christopher Vosper QC also made Thomas the subject of a supervision order and she will have to attend a thinking skills course and carry out 150 hours unpaid community work.

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