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Hughenden Parish Council continues civil proceedings against former clerk
CIVIL proceedings by a parish council to reclaim money taken from its accounts by a former clerk will continue.
Councillors at Hughenden Parish Council's monthly meeting on Tuesday night heard criminal proceedings have now ceased against Lynne Turner.
Mrs Turner, 51, of Tancred Road, High Wycombe was found guilty of fraud in January last year and was sentenced to nine months in prison after she took £28,200 from the parish council over a nine month period while she was clerk.
She was ordered to pay back £12,387.89 by December last year but by the deadline had only repaid £8,695.14.
Mrs Turner was referred back to the courts but has since been told the shortfall of £3,692.75 is no longer payable and criminal proceedings have ceased.
Referring to correspondence that had been exchanged, clerk Peter Wetherman, said, "I think Mrs Turner might have been hoping the fact the shortfall was no longer payable, as far as the criminal proceedings were concerned, it might also extend to the civil proceedings. They don't.
"As far as the civil proceedings are concerned she still owes us the full amount that is due."
The councillors present agreed they should pursue the civil proceedings to reclaim the remaining £19,504.86 which she has not paid back.
But there was some disagreement about whether they should charge interest and how much.
Cllr Brian Swain said: "I would say we have got to take it back to- are we going to get any more back? That is the situation. I am not saying we shouldn't carry on with the process as we agreed it but I think the interest side of it is just a step too far."
Roger Beavil, Ian Guy and Shade Adoh also agreed with Cllr Swain.
But the six other councillors present thought Mrs Turner should be charged interest, although there was some disagreement to how much.
Cllr Linda Derrick said: "As custodian of the taxpayers money we should reclaim as much as possible of that money."
Five voted for and five against for a proposal to charge interest from the date the fraud occurred at a rate of interest the court allows, which is eight per cent.
The proposal was changed to charge the court's statutory rate from the date of the summons of the civil proceedings- six voted in favour, three against and one abstention.