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Former South Holland District Council employee from Crowland admits fraud charge after spending nearly £9,000 on business card for personal items

A former council employee has admitted spending almost £9,000 on personal items using a business card.

Beverley Paskell’s mental health and financial situation nosedived during the Covid pandemic at a time when employer South Holland District Council had her ‘doing four jobs’, Boston Magistrates’ Court was told.

Today (Wednesday) the 41-year-old pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position, spending £8,740.82 on a company card over a two-year period.

South Holland District Council
South Holland District Council

“The defendant was a technical operations manager for South Holland District Council and with that came a business card,” prosecutor Turan Sunat explained.

“The card was for purchases related to work items only.

“But over a period of time they made purchases of £8,740.82.”

Mr Sunat added that the council’s financial investigation into the money ‘led to this defendant’.

Defending Paskell, of The Chase, Crowland, Carrie Simson said her client was ‘absolutely full of remorse’.

She told magistrates that during the time of the offence her client was suffering by being overworked, to the point her partner - for whom she is a carer - was coming into her place of employment voluntarily to do unpaid work to ‘ease her stresses’.

“In essence this is someone whose mental health declined during the covid period, which we all remember,” Mrs Simson said.

“Like many places, staff were laid off and she found herself in a position of doing four jobs in the role of one.

“This coincided with financial hardship.

“Relationships at work were breaking down as she was given changes in tasks to do which were different to what she was employed for, such as litter picking and the role as a first responder, for which she had little training.”

Mrs Simson added Paskell is now receiving medication for depression as a result of this.

“This is not somebody we want to introduce to the prison service,” added Mrs Simson, telling the court Paskell has now found new employment.

The money was said to have been spent between April 1, 2021 and April 1, 2023, dates which were contested by the defence.

Magistrates agreed to send Paskell to Lincoln Crown Court for sentencing on a date to be confirmed.

She was released on unconditional bail.

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