A MUM who ‘stole’ money which was gathered through donations for a cancer charity has been spared jail.

Kristina Cartledge, as she appeared on court documents, but who told the court that she is now Kristina Whitfield after getting married, was convicted of fraud by false representation.

The particulars of the charge stated that between May 11, 2017, and July 19, 2021, in Warrington, she committed fraud by dishonestly making a false representation that she was acting as a bona fide collector for Macmillan Cancer Support, and that all donations would be passed to the charity.

The 38-year-old admitted the offence, albeit on the day of her trial, and she appeared to be sentenced at Warrington Magistrates’ Court.

The hearing did not go into the circumstances of the offence, however prosecutor Giles Grant stated that Cartledge ‘held money that should have been paid and took evasive steps to avoid paying’.

Before hearing the mitigation, district judge Mark Hadfield said: “It seems to me, due to the aggravating factor of stealing from a charity, the custody threshold has been crossed.

“It is a stark choice of suspended or immediate custody.

Jane Hedges, defending, told the court that the money has now been paid during the process of criminal proceedings, and that there is ‘good reason’ to suspend the sentence.

She spoke of how the defendant has suffered from mental health issues for a considerable period, with significant issues of anxiety and depression during the period in question, and she suffered a panic attack during her first police interview.

Kristina Cartledge was sentenced at Warrington Magistrates Court

Kristina Cartledge was sentenced at Warrington Magistrates' Court

Ms Hedges added that her client, who is of previous good character with no previous convictions, was a carer for a dependant relative who would be impacted by a jail sentence, while the defendant is a ‘good prospect of rehabilitation’.

Before sentencing, district judge Hadfield said: “This was a very serious offence committed over a period of time from May 11, 2017, to July 19, 2021.

“This was an offence of fraud, where you deprived Macmillan of more than £1,000, generated for charitable purposes.

“It is quite clear the offence involved a very serious abuse of a position of trust, there is no doubt about that.

“The fraud continued for some considerable period of time, and while the amount of money involved in some respects is relatively modest, that does not detract from the seriousness of the offence.

“The offence is so serious that only a custodial sentence is appropriate, despite the mitigation.

“I have to decide if the sentence should be immediate, or if there is good reason to suspend the sentence.”

Cartledge, of St Katherine’s Way in Howley, was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months.

Also ordered to complete 10 rehabilitation activity requirement days, undertake 100 hours of unpaid work in and for the benefit of the community and pay £128 in court costs.