Toy library manager who stole vital funds is jailed

09/01/2015

A woman who stole money from a centre for children has been sentenced to eight months in prison.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that Lynn Donovan, 43, of Rowson Street in New Brighton, had stolen thousands of pounds from Wirral Toy Library.

Donovan was a manager and her role included running the centre in Birkenhead, payment of salaries to the employees and managing/writing cheques to other charities, suppliers and donators.

The court heard that she had stolen around £10,599 from the centre's funds by asking members of the centre's committee to sign blank cheques which she later made out to herself and her husband.

She told the committee members that these cheques were payments for former employees.

Her deceit came to light when a member of staff became suspicious and alerted another manager.

An investigation was launched and incriminating cheque stubs were found, along with cheques that had been modified for her own personal use.

Donovan was suspended from work and called in to explain herself.

She initially made no comment to the allegations but eventually said her health had deteriorated in recent times and that she'd taken the money to cover the medical help she needed.

She said that she'd tried to get a bank loan to cover these costs but hadn't been able to. She told the committee that she had then foolishly done "what they could see in front of them".

The police were called in and Donovan was arrested. She later pleaded guilty to a charge of theft.

The toy library offers resources for a wide variety of children, including those with special needs and relies on donations to survive.

It had been feared that it might have to close because of the thefts but it has been taken over by another charity and will continue to operate.

Geoffrey Fryar of Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service said: "Donovan was given the job of running the centre which offers vital resources, help and support to children and their parents.

"Through her greed Donovan placed the good work of the centre at risk. She abused her position, the trust of her fellow committee members and those who use the Centre.

"She helped herself to vital funds that had been donated by the public to keep the Centre in business. She has lost her good name and reputation and now faces a prison sentence.

"Fortunately the Centre will continue to serve the community, despite Donovan's dishonesty."