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Serial thief has jail sentence cut

PUBLISHED: 17:12 06 May 2009 | UPDATED: 11:50 12 August 2010

A BOOKKEEPER who embezzled £18,000 from the small family business that employed her over a 10-month period has had her jail sentence cut

A BOOKKEEPER who embezzled £18,000 from the small family business that employed her over a 10-month period has had her jail sentence cut by top judges on appeal.

Ann-Marie Davis, 43, of Keedon Wood Road, Bromley, stole 34 times from TV and Audio company, Norman Hobbs Ltd, of South Road, Haywards Heath, Sussex, between April 2005 and February 2006.

She was jailed for a year at Hove Crown Court on January 16 this year, having been convicted of 34 counts of theft from an employer in May the previous year at Lewes.

The delay between sentencing and conviction was ordered by the Crown Court judge, in order to give Davis a chance to pay the money she had stolen back to her former employers by way of a compensation order. The judge had indicated that should she do this she might well get a suspended sentence in the end.

But Davis was unemployed and her family were unable to help her fulfil the order.

Last Thursday Mr Justice Simon, sitting with Mr Justice Blake at London's Criminal Appeal Court, reduced her sentence to nine months in light of the delay and the expectation the judge had given her of possibly escaping custody.

Allowing the appeal, and giving the judgement of the court, Mr Justice Simon said: "A person should not be punished because they are not in a financial position to pay a compensation order.

"We propose to quash the sentence of 12 months and substitute a sentence of nine months. To that extent, this appeal is allowed.

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