01/09/2003

Headmistress sentenced to five years for £500,000 theft

A light-fingered headmistress who stole £500,000 from school funds has been sentenced to five years today.

Former nun Colleen McCabe (51), the former headmistress of St John Rigby College, Bromley, Kent, used the funds to buy luxury goods and finance extravagant trips abroad.

Southwark Crown Court heard that McCabe had paid over £7,000 for shoes while the school had insufficient funds to pay for heating.

McCabe faced a number of specimen charges on counts of theft and deception.

Sentencing McCabe, from Sidcup, Kent, Judge Christopher Elwen said she had told a “tissue of lies”. He told her that the deprivation of children under her care was a “gross breach of trust”.

Rejecting pleas for a suspended sentence, Judge Elwen said McCabe had shown no remorse, but acknowledged that he had taken into account the fact that she was suffering from a depressive illness and had other medical problems.

Council auditors discovered massive discrepancies in the school’s accounts when they were called in to examine the school’s financial state in November 1999.

It is understood that the local borough council in Bromley will have to take legal action against McCabe in an effort to trace and recover some of the missing money.

(SP)

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