A CASHIER who tried to kill herself when she realised her theft of £20,000 from an elderly couple was about to be uncovered has had her jail term cut by a third as an act of ‘mercy’ by judges.
Susan Tagg fleeced 82-year-old Betty Grace and her husband Sydney, 80, when she offered to help the couple with their banking after Mrs Grace developed dementia, London’s Appeal Court heard.
Her deception was only discovered after Mrs Grace died and the couple’s son looked into their financial affairs.
Tagg, 54, of Windmill Balk Lane, Woodlands, was locked up for 18 months at Doncaster Crown Court in February after admitting two counts of theft.
But her sentence has been reduced to one year by appeal judges, who said the original term was ‘too long’.
The court heard Mr and Mrs Grace banked with Halifax through an agency, for which Tagg worked as a customer service adviser.
Mrs Grace looked after the account and regularly dealt with Tagg at the agency’s premises in Great North Road, Woodlands.
Mr Justice Bean said: “They believed she was doing it out of diligence at work and out of the kindness of her heart – in fact she was stealing their money.”
Realising the thefts were about to be discovered, Tagg made what was described by a psychiatrist as a ‘serious and significant attempt on her life’ – taking an overdose of medication.
It was then discovered she had made 58 unauthorised withdrawals – totalling £19,849 – from the account over 18 months.
Tagg’s solicitor advocate Richard Haigh said the Crown Court judge did not take enough account of her personal circumstances or the fact she had an unblemished record before committing the offences.
Allowing the appeal, Mr Justice Bean said the sentence could be reduced to 12 months, adding: “We have come to the conclusion, after some consideration, that it is possible to extend a degree of mercy to her.”