A former mayor in the UK, addicted to online gambling, has been jailed for stealing cash and fraudulently raising mortgage in the name of her husband.
Jayne Yeoman, 49, forged her husband's signature to raise a mortgage on the family home and also stole Ģ38,726 Carlisle South End Constitutional Club, it was alleged. Interestingly she had served as Carlisle mayor for a year in the 1990s.
When she was discovered she tried to kill herself, Carlisle Crown Court heard.
She had been working in Carlisle South End Constitutional Club since 2002 and was promoted to the post of steward with responsibility for finances.
Kenneth Hay, prosecuting, said Yeomans developed the 'extreme gambling problem' in August 2007.
Unbeknown to the committee members - who trusted Yeomans implicitly - she had stolen Ģ30,000 and frittered it away during late night internet gambling sessions.
Becoming increasingly desperate to avoid detection she forged her husband's signature and raised a Ģ25,000 mortgage on the family home in October 2007.
She paid most of the cash back but her addiction soon saw her plundering the club's coffers again.
When eventually she was caught, Yeomans took an overdose.
The prosecutor told the court: 'At this time she attempted to take her own life and ended up in the Carlisle clinic.
'She'd written a note to the club accepting responsibility for what had gone wrong and said the money was used for her own purposes.'
The club was prepared to let her pay the money back and her husband tried to arrange a mortgage, not knowing she had already raised one.
Yeomans, of Quarrolhall Crescent, Carronshore in Falkirk, was charged and quickly admitted the offences.
Today, her barrister Gregory Hoare said it was 'a very sorry case'.
He added: 'It many ways it is a story of our modern times - an illustration that many of us might be capable of falling into the thrall of addiction, whether drinking, drugs or in this case gambling.'
He presented several letters of support to the court - one from Carlisle's Labour MP Eric Martlew.
Saying she was overwhelmingly sorry, the barrister said: 'She selflessly represented others for years as a councillor and in other aspects of her life.
'She got into online betting and wasn't able to help herself in the way she helped so many other people.
'It has been a very shocking blow for her losing her good reputation and name.
'She has lost very significant self-esteem and her health.
'For a period of time she even lost the will to live.'
Saying that the case caused him particular concern, judge Paul Batty QC said he regretted Yeomans would have to be jailed immediately.
He said her 'persistent and deliberate dishonesty over a considerable period of time' made it inevitable.
He told her: 'People trusted you and you betrayed their trust in the most appalling way.
'I take into account your fall from grace which is now absolute and complete.
'I accept you are a broken woman and in poor health and, when about to be discovered, made a determined effort to end your own life.
'I have in mind your years of fine public service to this city, your charitable works and fine testimonials on your behalf.'
Speaking before the hearing Yeomans wept as she warned others against internet gambling.
She said: 'I just feel so ashamed.
'I have let so many people down.
'It's no excuse but I was having a difficult time and it was like a crutch.
'I'm so sorry.'