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Monday, 9 September, 2002, 13:13 GMT 14:13 UK
'Hoarder' kept stolen cash in carrier bags
Pullman Lodge Hotel
Kennedy worked at the Pullman Lodge Hotel for years
A barmaid who admitted stealing 58,000 from her employers has been jailed for nine months.

Kara Kennedy, 30, admitted stealing from the owners of the Pullman Lodge Hotel, in Sunderland, where she had been considered a trusted employee.

Newcastle Crown Court heard on Monday how police investigating the theft of a 50 gift voucher from a wedding reception arrived at Kennedy's home to find more than 58,000 in notes stuffed in bags.

Kennedy's barrister Brian Mark, told the court his client was a "hoarder" who had not spent the cash but kept the money in order to feel secure.


This is an individual who has an extremely frugal and, in some respects, rather miserable existence

Brian Mark, defending

At Durham Crown Court last month Kennedy, from Harperley Drive, Sunderland, admitted stealing the 58,000 from hotel owners Derrick and Pauline Hardy.

The court heard she had access to gaming machines, tills and safes and stole hundreds of pounds every month over a period of more than three years,

David McGonigal, prosecuting, told the hearing the hotel was a popular venue for wedding receptions and suspicions were aroused when gifts went missing.

Mr Hardy discovered a card and a 50 Argos voucher addressed to a couple of newlyweds in Kennedy's handbag in June 2000.

When police officers arrived at her home the following day they found 58,608 in coins and notes stuffed into supermarket plastic bags, envelopes and a handbag.

Investigations later revealed that Kennedy held a building society account in May 2000 containing a further 37,000.

Obsessive disorder

Mr McGonigal said the business had suffered from the large theft, with profits falling from a high of 120,000 in 1997 to just 13,000 three years later.

Kennedy was ordered to repay the 50,000 plus more than 9,000 in interest.

Mr Mark, for the defendant, told the court it was a unique case because his client had not spent the money, rather she hoarded it because of a compulsive obsessive disorder.

He told the hearing: "This is an individual who has an extremely frugal and, in some respects, rather miserable existence."

Sentencing Kennedy to nine months imprisonment Judge Tony Lancaster said: "There is no doubt the Hardys completely trusted you, particularly because you were a dedicated worker.

"You betrayed the trust which they had for you in a most serious way."


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