Manager 'forced to take nearly £1m'
Published 29/01/2010 | 15:22
A former junior bank manager has walked free from court after being cleared of stealing nearly £1 million from a high street bank.
Ania Wadsworth, 28, admitted taking the money but sobbed that she had been forced to do it by her crack addict boyfriend.
Wadsworth, of Archway, north London, was found not guilty of stealing £921,716.95 from Lloyds TSB between 2002 and 2007.
Keith "Junior" Preddie, 30, of Romford, Essex, was found guilty of laundering £145,370.
Preddie, who had a £500-a-day drug habit at times, said he also spent money on BMW cars, holidays and a failed music business.
The Old Bailey was told that Wadsworth would walk out of the branch at Golders Green, north London, with bundles of £25,000, stolen while she was loading cash machines.
But none of the missing money was traced to her and she had been living modestly. Her bank accounts were frequently in the red and she had taken out a couple of loans from the bank.
An expert on domestic abuse said Wadsworth showed signs of battered woman syndrome and "learned helplessness".
She had been with Preddie, described as being from the wrong side of the tracks, since she was 16. But he left her in 2004 when he fell in love with another woman.
Wadsworth told the court that at the end of the relationship she was forced to steal larger amounts to "pay him off". She told the court that she lived in fear of violence from Preddie and believed he would kill her or her family if she did not bring cash home.