A DEBT-laden mum who “betrayed” her friend by stealing almost £4,000 from her has narrowly escaped jail.
Anna Natasha Pemberton, 29, initially helped pal Fiona Clarke make legitimate online purchases because she didn’t feel confident enough to do it herself.
Pemberton used Ms Clarke’s card information, which was saved. Amid early “warning signs”, Pemberton claimed that a number of transactions made without Ms Clarke’s knowledge were mistakes.
But Ms Clarke was then contacted by her bank about suspicious account activity. Prosecutor Brendan Burke told Carlisle Crown Court: “She then had the upset of going to the bank and having to scour her own bank records.” It emerged Pemberton had spent £3,632 buying goods from companies including Primark, Amazon, Asda and Sky Plc between November, 2017, and July, 2018.
“She talks of life being turned upside down,” Mr Burke said of Ms Clarke, “and feeling betrayed.”
Pemberton, of Clift Street, Carlisle, admitted 10 fraud charges in court today (MON).
A probation officer told Judge Andrew Jefferies QC the defendant – previously of good character – was unemployed at the time, had debts of around £5,000 and was “deeply sorry and ashamed” by her criminal conduct.
Judge Jefferies suspended a four-month jail term for 18 months, but only as an “act of mercy” because Pemberton was the sole carer for her young daughter. She must also complete 200 hours’ unpaid work.
“It’s a mean offence,” said the judge. “It must have felt like a knife through her heart when she discovered what you had been doing – her friend.”