A BANK cashier who “milked” an elderly couple of nearly £20,000 of their savings wept as a judge sent her to prison.
Susan Tagg had previously tried to commit suicide when it became clear her long-running embezzlement from the account of a couple from Woodlands, Doncaster, was about to be exposed.
The thefts came to an end only when one of her victims, 82-year-old Betty Grace, died and her widower, Sydney Grace, now aged 80, was unable to manage money on his own.
Their son, Chris, became suspicious when he looked into his father’s financial affairs - and the father and son were at Doncaster Crown Court yesterday to see Tagg imprisoned for 18 months.
After the case Chris Grace told The Star: “I am really pleased that justice has been done.
“I feel sorry for the family of Susan Tagg but if she hadn’t done what she did she wouldn’t be going to prison.”
The court was told Tagg, aged 53, wrote a note to her family and tried to kill herself but failed, and she and her family then paid back all the money she had stolen from Mr and Mrs Grace.
She worked as a customer adviser at the Halifax agency, located within the Ideal insurance and estate agents in Great North Road, Woodlands, when the thefts occurred.
Prosecutor Beverley Tait said Mr and Mrs Grace had trusted her so much that she would call at their house and collect cash which they expected her to deposit in their account.
But on 58 occasions over 18 months she kept the money to spend on shopping.
Even after Mrs Grace began to suffer from dementia, Tagg continued to steal their savings.
When the couple’s son asked her for statements she was evasive - so he made an appointment to see the manager of the Ideal agency.
That was when he learned that the defendant had tried to kill herself, and it became clear £19,849 had been taken from his parents’ account between May 2008 and November 2009.
Tagg, of Windmill Balk Lane, Woodlands, pleaded guilty to the thefts. Ms Tait said the Halifax paid back the money with interest, and Tagg had repaid her former employers. She was of previous good character.
Defence solicitor Richard Haigh said she knew her crimes represented a significant breach of trust which had brought everything in her life crashing around her ears.
He said she had been unable to explain why she did it but must have known it would come out, and had paid the money back before police arrested her.
“She couldn’t have done any more to co-operate and show genuine remorse throughout. She has fallen into a slough of despond and her quality of life has diminished to mere subsistence because of her shame,” said Mr Haigh.
Judge Peter Kelson, QC, described it as tragic case but it was a grave offence in breach of a high degree of trust shown by Mr and Mrs Grace.
“As Mrs Grace declined in her health through dementia you were stealing week after week from her and her husband’s money,” he told Tagg.
“These were two old, vulnerable people and there is no other way than to say you were milking them.”