The former treasurer of Chorley’s Northern Cricket League has avoided jail after a judge heard she had stolen from the club in desperation after her partner - an under 17s coach -passed away.
Ann Gilfoyle, 54, of Livesey Branch Road, Blackburn, took on the post, Preston’s Sessions House Court was told, as noone else stepped up to do the job.
Gilfoyle, who clutched a tissue in the dock, admitted theft by an employee after a probe revealed she had stolen £22,202.70 between August 2012 and December 2015.
Prosecuting, Peter Barr said it became plain to her successor monies had disappeared out of the bank account when “cheques bounced for payments of cricket balls and the like”.
He added: “Ultimately police were called and it was plain money had been paid straight into her bank account and then paid into other bank accounts she had control of.
Defending, Hugh Barton said when she resigned from the role she paid back £9,000 to the League and sold her home to pay the remaining £13,000.
He said she’d had “precious little support” and had done it to “the best of her ability” but was then beset by three bereavements.
He added: “ She really fell apart in the aftermath and got herself into terrible debt.”
Judge Simon Medland QC said: “The accounts were not in a neat form when you took over and your conduct in that role very quickly spiralled out of control because of a dreadful combination of family illness and bereavement, and you became utterly overwhelmed by the situation you found yourself in.”
“The blunt fact is you then began to behave dishonestly and ended up stealing from the league.
“Since these matters came to light you have done everything you possibly can to sort the situation out."