Mum's call for ex-pal to be jailed

DONCASTER mum Alison James today called for her former best pal to be jailed - because she has failed to pay her back £1,000 in stolen Christmas cash.

Monday, 15th October 2007, 8:40 am
Updated Friday, 19th October 2007, 11:49 am

Alison now faces another bleak Christmas because she has been repaid only 40 - despite a court order.

The mother-of-four had planned a special treat for her family with the compensation she was due from the woman she once regarded as one of her best friends - but now she would like to see Andrea O'Donnell behind bars.

"The justice system has let me down. This is two Christmases that are going up in smoke for me and I've no hope of getting all the money she owes me.

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"The only justice I can get now is to see her serve time in jail. What's happened so far is not justice for me," she said at her home in Denaby.

O'Donnell, aged 36, who lived in Wombwell at the time of her conviction, was sentenced last April to a suspended prison term and community service for stealing more than 1,000 she had collected from Alison towards Christmas hampers and gift vouchers for her family in 2005.

The judge at Doncaster Crown Court was so angry at O'Donnell's deceit - in which she pretended to have paid the money back before going to court - that he ordered her to pay a total of 1,500 at 100 a month to Alison.

But by this week she had received just two cheques from Barnsley Magistrates' Court, who are enforcing the compensation order, of 29 and 11 from the defendant

Alison said: "I have made continuous calls to Barnsley Magistrates Court to chase this up, and keep getting told she hasn't made payment yet, but they are chasing and threatening.

"The judge was quoted in court saying that if she defaulted paying, she'll go to prison, yet no-one seems to have the power to follow this up.

"I have spent yet another six months of my life chasing, wasting time and more money, and although she is six months in default, it seems nobody can do anything."

The two women met when they both worked at the Ventura call centre at Manvers and they became firm friends, going shopping and having coffee at each other's homes.

Alison had no suspicion O'Donnell was keeping all the Christmas club payments for herself until she went to collect the gifts.

A spokesman for Barnsley Magistrates said they had one of the best enforcement sections in the county but they could only pass on money to complainants when it is paid by the defendant and the matter was being actively pursued.

The court does not have power to refer unpaid compensation orders back to the judge who made the order.

The Star has been unable to contact the defendant.