University bursar forced to handover house sale cash

16/06/2009

The former bursar of a Durham university college who stole nearly half a million pounds from its bank account has been forced to handover cash from the sale of her home as compensation.

Christine Starkey, 60, used her position at St Chad's College to transfer funds to her own account over a five year period between 2002 and 2007.

She admitted stealing £488,281 and is currently serving a three year prison term.

The Crown Prosecution Service has now successfully applied for the profit from the sale of her home in Eaglescliffe, Teesside, to be seized. The money, totalling £179,462, is currently being held by Starkey's solicitor and will be given to the college to help compensate it for the financial loss.

Steven Orange, Crown Advocate for CPS Durham said:  "At an early stage in this case, a financial investigator was drafted in to carefully examine the bank accounts of both the college and Starkey. His work was crucial in identifying the true scale of the theft as Starkey herself was initially un-cooperative.

"We discovered that Starkey was in the process of selling her house at a time when the property market was strong, so the CPS asked for the profit from that sale, which is currently being held by Starkey's solicitor, to be frozen. We've now successfully applied for that money to be confiscated and handed over to the college.
 
"Starkey was trusted to watch over the college's bank account, instead she used her position to plunder it. St Chad's College is a registered charity and this gross breach of trust could so easily have threatened its long-term survival. The profit from the sale of her home may not reimburse St Chad's for all that it lost, but its at least some compensation for a theft that caused the college serious financial concerns."

ENDS

Media inquiries to Roderick Stuart, Group Communications Manager on 0191 260 4384, mobile 07909 881822, or email roderick.stuart@cps.gsi.gov.uk