‘I kept my £70k fraud a secret from husband’

Graham and Kirsty Lane of Adlington arrive at Preston Crown Court Jan 2012

Graham and Kirsty Lane of Adlington arrive at Preston Crown Court Jan 2012

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A tearful mum who stole nearly £200,000 from her bosses to help fund her wedding and “costly” lifestyle has told a court her husband had no idea she was a thief.

Kirsty Lane, 29, has admitted fraudulently taking the cash from her former employer, Pure Audio Visual, in Leyland, by fiddling payments from a company bank account.

Her husband Graham Lane, 36, denies knowing or suspecting £71,717 she transferred into his personal bank account - on 54 occasions over 18 months - was the proceeds of criminal activity.

Mrs Lane broke down in the dock at Preston Crown Court yesterday, as she told the jury her husband had no inkling of her fraudulent behaviour, until they returned from their honeymoon in the Lake District a year ago to find a letter from Pure, saying she was suspended.

Police then arrested the couple, of Lewis Close, Adlington, near Chorley, after Mrs Lane’s boss flagged up irregularities in accounts she had access to in her role as a part-time accounts administrator.

The court was told when officers executed a warrant at their home, they found two cars with personalised number plates, a 52in television, a designer Tag Heuer watch and three digital cameras.

The jury also heard the couple had enjoyed a lavish wedding which featured fireworks, a band and face painting, yet their combined annual salaries were around £32,000.

Kirsten McAteer, prosecuting, said: “The Crown says Mr Lane allowed his account to be used by Mrs Lane to pay money in and take it out, to the benefit of both of them, and to allow the real source of the money to be disguised and enable them to spend it on whatever.”

Mum-of-one Mrs Lane told the court she had led her husband, a part-time electronics engineer, to believe she was transferring legitimate money from savings, overtime and work bonuses into his account and that he was “disgusted” to learn the truth.

She said: “I will never be able to apologise for what I have done. He truly trusted me. He believed what I was telling him about the money.

“We were not living together (at that time) and he didn’t know I wasn’t working longer hours.

“I have hurt him badly. He loved me and trusted me and I abused that.”

Mr Lane took to the stand to tell the jury he had allowed his partner access to his bank account because she had previously been declared bankrupt and was not allowed her own credit card.

He said he had not kept a close watch on the transactions and had not noticed 53 of the 54 had come straight from Pure’s bank account.

He said: “I didn’t close my eyes. I questioned her about it. I went on trust after that. At the time, she told me she had worked two jobs for 10 years.

“I was very naive.”

In cross-examination, Miss McAteer replied: “You didn’t ask many pertinent questions about where the money was coming from.

“It was not just stupidity but closing your eyes to the obvious. You must have known (Kirsty) did not have access to this money legitimately.

“You were having a very costly lifestyle which she could not have afforded.”

(Proceeding)