£15k fraud case must wait for fresh report

A judge has postponed sentencing a Sudbury woman after lambasting the Probation Service for preparing a “completely inadequate” report on her.

Lucy McNaul, 44, of Grenville Road, admitted pocketing £15,000 after being handed the money to set up a new youth club in the town.

At Ipswich Crown Court on Monday, she appeared before Judge Rupert Overbury after pleading guilty to fraud by false representation.

Before the hearing began, Judge Overbury said the pre-sentence report was not suitable and he was not prepared to proceed with sentencing until a replacement had been prepared.

Judge Overbury said: “I’m not prepared to deal with it with the report that has been commissioned. It is inadequate and does not do justice to the case.”

McNaul, who has no previous convictions, was to be sentenced for “an extremely serious offence of dishonesty” said Judge Overbury and more information was required.

Judge Overbury ordered the preparation of a fresh report and said it must be by a different member of staff. It was the second time a report by the same author had proved “completely inadequate”, said the judge.

Adjourning sentencing until August 19, Judge Overbury told McNaul: “This is an extremely serious offence of dishonesty as even with someone with no previous convictions custody is likely to be at the forefront of the court’s mind.”

McNaul was granted unconditional bail until her next court appearance.

She had admitted keeping half the £29,400 grant she was awarded by the Ministry of Justice to create the Works in Sudbury in 2010.

The money came from the Community cashback scheme – designed to use assets recovered from criminals to fund community projects.