Birmingham & Black Country

Mother jailed for Highclare School and Saltley Methodist Church theft

Carol Payne Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Carol Payne conned her mother-in-law into counter-signing cheques in order to steal money from Saltley Methodist Church.

A church and school treasurer who stole £43,000 to fund her rent and daughter's private school fees has been jailed.

Carol Payne took £31,300 from Saltley Methodist Church.

She also abused her position as a parent-teacher association member at Highclare School, Birmingham, to steal £11,553 allocated for a minibus.

The 32-year-old, of Shottery Close, Sutton Coldfield, was jailed for two-and-a-half years at Birmingham Crown Court after admitting theft and fraud.

'Trusted with money'

Payne conned her mother-in-law into counter-signing cheques in order to steal the church money.

She used that cash to service the private school fees of her seven-year-old daughter, who attended Highclare, and to fund the rent on her family's four-bedroom house.

Image copyright Google Maps
Image caption Carol Payne stole £31,300 from Saltley Methodist Church.

Passing sentence, Recorder Mark Warby QC told her: "There's nothing wrong with aiming high but you used other people's money to fund your aspirations."

He added: "You were trusted with money, which was not properly safeguarded, solely because people trusted you."

'Horrendous impact'

Payne, who had a background as an accountancy assistant, had previously admitted theft from Highclare's PTA, as well as further offences of fraud and false accounting in relation to Saltley Methodist Church.

Liz de Oliveira, defending, said her client was "extremely remorseful" and had lost everything as a result of her offending.

"The impact has been horrendous - albeit all of her own doing," she said.

"Her family did support her until the church matter came to light, as many of her family attend that church. It has caused a huge split in the family."

A Proceeds of Crime Act hearing will take place in a bid to recover some of the stolen money.

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