South East Wales

Caroline Wootton-Thomas stole £35k from children's fund

Caroline Wootton-Thomas and her mother Hilary Wooton Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Caroline Wootton-Thomas has been jailed but her mother Hilary Wootton was cleared at trial

A Cardiff council worker who stole £35,000 from a children's fund has been jailed for two and a half years.

Caroline Wootton-Thomas, 49, forged colleague's signatures on cheques and transferred cash to a bank account she set up in her mother's name.

She used the council's Child Protection Unit petty cash fund for debts, expensive gifts and luxury holidays.

A Cardiff Crown Court jury convicted Wootton-Thomas, of Newport, of theft and transferring criminal property.

The court heard she had asked to be put in charge of the petty cash fund which was meant to be used to cover fuel and parking costs.

The grandmother was caught after a bank statement was sent to the wrong department.

'Unscrupulous'

She denied any wrongdoing and blamed her colleagues for stealing the money, which the jury rejected.

Matthew Roberts, prosecuting, said Wootton-Thomas had shown an "arrogance" which culminated in her mother also being charged with money laundering, though she was cleared at trial.

Judge Neil Bidder said: "You have manipulated your mother in the most unscrupulous way. You took out a loan in her name to pay off your debts.

"I've observed fake tears and not a jot of remorse for casting suspicion against other members of your team.

"I regard the fact this money was reserved for vulnerable children to be an aggravating factor."

A hearing in May will set out how she will be able to pay back the money.

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