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R v Boughen 2011 - Norwich Crown Court

Christopher Milligan of Conspiracy Solicitors represented the former clerk of four parish councils who stole more than £60,000 and was jailed for her “quite dreadful breach of trust”.

Beverley Jane Boughen, 42, of Manor Road, Dersingham, appeared at Norwich Crown Court to be sentenced after admitting to five thefts, which totalled £62,962.83, at a previous hearing.

William Carter, prosecuting, said the thefts involved money stolen from Ringstead, Marshland St James, Burnham Market and Snettisham parish councils and the Heacham and District Community Car Scheme between 2008 and 2010.

Christopher Milligan, mitigating, said that in acting as clerk for four parish councils at the same time Boughen had got in “over her head” and “taken on too much responsibility for someone who up until 2004 hadn’t worked” but was a housewife bringing up four children.

He said her debt had got “out of control” and that as a “loving wife and mother didn’t want to explain how out of control the family finances had got”.

He said: “She has showed remorse and is clearly very sorry for what she’s done not only to the local community where she’s had to leave and move house because she’s so ashamed and embarrassed about what’s happened, but she’s also terribly, terribly sorry for what she’s done to her husband and children.

“They didn’t know about the problems she was suffering from when this offending took place – she suffered silently and offended silently. They were not aware that money was going missing and she was spending it.”

Sentencing Boughen to 18 months in custody, which was reduced from three years because of her guilty pleas and the impact on her family, recorder Mark Dennis QC said: “It was a high degree of trust which you had imposed upon you not by one but by five quite separate bodies and you breached that trust. It really was a quite dreadful breach of trust.”