Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Bride jailed for wedding cash theft

Kirsty Lane has been jailed after stealing from her employers to fund her lavish wedding

A bride who stole up to £200,000 from her bosses to help pay for her lavish wedding has been jailed for 20 months.

Part-time accounts assistant Kirsty Lane, 30, channelled funds from her employer's bank account into her own and her future husband's.

Her fraud was uncovered just days after she married Graham Lane, 36, near Blackpool, Lancashire, in January last year. Lane, of Lewis Close, Adlington, Lancashire, was sentenced at Preston Crown Court.

Passing sentence, Judge Pamela Badley said the "modest" first amounts of cash she stole from the company escalated and funded a luxury lifestyle. Judge Badley said Lane's behaviour was "fraudulent from the outset", adding: "This was a cynical exploitation of the small company for which you worked."

As well as paying for a lavish wedding which included a free bar, musicians, fireworks, a magician and face-painting, Lane also used the cash to pay for a number of home improvements at the couple's Adlington home, including items such as a 52in TV, a Tag Heuer watch, an iPod and personalised car registration plates.

Kirsten McAteer, opening the case for the prosecution, said: "Once she started stealing money, she couldn't stop. She was afraid Mr Lane would leave her when he found out the truth."

Lane's fraud was discovered by Peter Sutton, the managing director of Pure Audio Visual Ltd, for whom she worked. Lane was sent a letter from the Leyland-based business which stated she had been suspended because of suspicions about her thieving when she returned from a three-day honeymoon break in the Lake District.

Lane had been employed at the firm since June 2007 and was in charge of processing customer and supplier payments, and staff wages. The court heard she made 122 payments to herself between December 2008 and January 2011. Around £122,000 went into her own account.

A further £70,000 went into her husband's account and £6,000 was paid into a third account. The court was told that Mr Lane was acquitted of any wrongdoing after a retrial in May and that Lane herself had "exonerated" her husband of any wrongdoing.

The couple met in 2007 and Mr Lane had travelled up from his home in Luton to move in with the single parent and her daughter in August 2010. She pleaded guilty last October to 10 counts of fraud by abuse of position and asked for a further 112 similar offences to be taken into consideration.