FORMER Hughenden Parish Council clerk Lynne Turner has been jailed for nine months for transferring £28,200 of public money into her personal account.
The 50-year-old of Tancred Road, High Wycombe, was found guilty of ten counts of fraud by abuse of position last month.
She was sentenced to nine months behind bars for each count – to run concurrently – at Oxford Crown Court today.
The charges relate to her time as clerk of the parish council, where she moved £28,200 from the council's bank account to her own between August 2010 and May 2011 in 31 different transactions.
His Honour Judge Pringle QC said she had abused the trust of the parish council and the residents in the parish and he had no other option but to serve her a jail sentence.
He said: "You expect people, particularly those who are serving the community when placed in a position of trust, to honour the trust that people place in them and to behave with propriety and you sorely failed to do so."
Prosecution Jerome Silva explained how the current clerk, Charlotte Watts, noticed the discrepancies in the accounts when she started at the council after Turner resigned.
Defence Dejan Mladenovic said Turner had previous good character.
He said a psychiatric report showed she had adjustment disorder where she behaves in a way that is inextricably linked to her inability to acknowledge any wrongful acts.
He said: "It is part and parcel of the reason why she had difficulties accepting her criminality in the first place."
He added: "Mrs Turner does intend and does want to repay all of the mony she took and defrauded the parish council of.
"I am told by her she would be in a position to begin making these repayments within the next six to seven months."
He said the case has caused stress to herself and her family and she deeply regrets her actions.
In his summing up his His Honour Judge Pringle QC said: "You are 50 years of age. You have no previous convictions of any sort and until 2010 you, Mrs Turner, worked hard, it seems all your life.
"You brought up your family in what, I suspect, was a commendable way.
"In 2010 you had been working for Hughenden Parish Council for 16 years as the clerk to the parish council finances.
"Many of the parish council in the time you served there got to know you well and you were completely trusted by them.
"It would, it seems, be the case that you were continued to be trusted by them up until and during the course of your trial because you called two of them as character witnesses.
"The plain fact of the matter is that you, Mrs Turner, abused that trust- the trust that had been placed in you by the parish council and all the residents of that parish.
"In August 2010, no doubt because of financial pressures you had got yourself into, you began to divert funds from the parish accounts into your own personal account.
"You started slowly. £300 was the first amount, then another £300 and after a month or so you obviously became confident and sums of £1,000- sometimes on consecutive days- were placed in your own bank account.
"The total amount came to just over £30,000.
"You expect people, particularly those who are serving the community when placed in a position of trust to honour the trust that people place in them, to behave with propriety and you sorely failed to do so."