https://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/news ... th-1989371
'Today, it is only by a whisker that you walk out of that door and not the door at the back of the court'
A woman who used her position to pocket £29,500 from the post office where she worked has been spared jail.
Dawn Powell was allowed to walk out of court despite the 19-month fraud at Kibworth Post Office because she is pregnant, a carer for her parents and had offered to pay back the money.
Miss Recorder Catarina Sjolin, sitting at Leicester Crown Court, gave Powell a two-year prison sentence suspended for two years.
She told Powell: “Today, it is only by a whisker that you walk out of that door and not the door at the back of the court.”
The judge ordered Powell, who sobbed in the dock, to repay £10,000 of the total she defrauded while working as clerk at the post office between February 2016 and September last year.
She said: “I am only ordering that you repay £10,000 but I urge you to repay all of it.”
Prosecutor Lucky Thandi told the court how Powell had reversed transactions at the post office in High Street and pocketed £29,500.
She said the fraud only came to light when the Post Office carried out an audit at the outlet in September 2017.
Ms Thandi said: “It showed that in 2015 there were reverse transactions worth £337 but by 2016 this had risen to £18,653.
“Powell admitted responsibility immediately. She told the auditors: ‘I’m sorry. It was me and not my sister. You can call the police.’
“This was an abuse of position and trust and over a sustained period.”
Ms Thandi said that Mr and Mrs Kharodia, who owned the post office, were so shocked that they asked the auditors to recheck the figures.
Powell, of Cromwell Close, Walcote, near Lutterworth, pleaded guilty to defrauding the business out of £29,500.
Sarah Cornish, defending, said her client was a hard-working caring woman of previous good character.
She said that after years of trying and a number of miscarriages, Powell was eight weeks pregnant.
Ms Cornish said: “She made a full admission straightaway, even before the police were called. She is a full-time carer for her mother and father and a this was hugely out of character.”
Miss Recorder Sjolin ordered Powell to repay £10,000 at the rate of £300 a month.
She said that although the custody threshold had been crossed, justice was best served if Powell stayed out of jail and started to repay the missing money.
The judge said: “Sometimes you have to sentence the person as well as the offence.”
After the case, Mr Kharodia said he was disappointed at the sentence.
He said: “We have had and are still having sleepless nights and she has got off very lightly.
“She has not even been ordered to repay the full amount.”