Wigan mum stole £43k to bail out her son

A desperate woman who fleeced her bosses out of £43,000 in order to clear her son's huge debts has been spared jail.

Thursday, 1st March 2018, 8:53 am
Updated Thursday, 1st March 2018, 10:00 am
Preston Crown Court

Susan McCrae was a book-keeper at an engineering firm who turned to crime in a bid to bail out the young man who was deeply in the red, a court heard.

The 62-to-year-old, of Moorside Walk, Orrell, had already pleaded guilty to theft and this week a Preston Crown Court judge sentenced her to 14 months in prison, suspended for two years.

McCrae was also ordered to carry out 200 hours’ unpaid work and must pay a £140 victim surcharge.

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The hearing heard the deception came to light when the managing director of Skelmersdale-based business Williams Engineering, Paul Ferguson, started to examine the books and realised money was missing.

Prosecutor Katie Beattie said Mr Ferguson had taken over the engineering firm, where McCrae had worked for 16 years, in around 2012.

She was responsible for the payroll functions at the company, the court was told.

But Miss Beattie said that Mr Ferguson had only decided to finally go through the accounts just before last Christmas, where he found a number of discrepancies.

The bookkeeper was arrested shortly afterwards by police, after it emerged that there was missing money identified dating from August 2012 to December 2016.

Interviewed later by officers, she admitted that she had been stealing from the company for some time, but she had not realised that the sums involved amounted to £43,343.

Miss Beattie said McCrae told police that she had started stealing after her son had accumulated a “lot of debt” and people had been visiting their family home, demanding money. She also admitted that the situation had “gotten out of control”.

In a statement, Mr Ferguson said: “She was trusted with the banking and had been paying herself out of our accounts.

“It’s disappointing because she knows how hard we all work.”