Mum took Christmas savings money for booze, gambling and gifts
The treasurer of a Yeovil Christmas savings club who plundered the accounts and helped herself to thousands of pounds frittered the money on booze, slot machines and presents for her children.
Kellisue Keable was responsible for banking the cash given to her by members of the thrift club based at the Yeovil Ex-Services and Social Club.
But since January last year when members started handing over their hard-earned cash she kept a large proportion of it for herself but began to panic when the Christmas payouts became imminent.
A court was told that her partner had promised to help pay off the huge sum of over £12,000 that she owed, but when he dumped her in November she panicked and confessed to a fellow committee member.
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Despite being given a few days to try to repay the money she could not come up with the goods and was arrested.
Keable, 39, of Westfield Road, Yeovil, pleaded guilty to stealing £5,300 belonging to Richard Kingdon between January 6 and November 8 when she appeared in the dock before South Somerset and Mendip Magistrates.
She also admitted stealing £2,760 belonging to Brian Bovey and £760 belonging to Douglas Richard Cheney and asked for 14 other similar offences of theft to be taken into consideration when she is sentenced.
A member of the thrift club previously told the Western Gazette how her family faced a “bleak Christmas” after missing out on £1,000.
The mother of five, who asked not to be identified, said: “I’m really angry. My older children are well adapted to accept that this has happened but the babies are upset and wonder what’s going to happen to Father Christmas.”
Prosecutor Gordon Richings told the court that Keable was one of two treasurers entrusted with the finances of the Christmas thrift club for the Ex Services and Social Club in Preston Road.
Payments were made on a weekly basis and a record was kept by the treasurers and on a savings card held by the individual members.
“Keable was responsible for paying the money into a bank account as she did not work and had more time but on November 2 she sent a text message to the other treasurer saying she needed to talk as she was in so much trouble,” he said.
“Several messages were exchanged and Keable said her partner was going to help pay it back but he had just finished with her and she wanted to die as she had been so stupid.”
Keable was given a few days to try and rectify the situation but on November 6 she told the other treasurer she could not borrow any money and there was a total shortfall of £12,110.
Mr Richings said that the defendant was arrested and when interviewed by police confessed what she had done saying that right from the start she had paid a proportion of the money into the thrift bank account but kept the rest for herself.
He said: “She said she had spent the cash on drinking, playing bingo, gambling on fruit machines and buying things for her children.
“She said things had got out of control and although she had paid some of the money back, it was nowhere near enough to cover what she had stolen.”
The court heard that the thrift club had comprised 23 members with 18 being left out of pocket as a result.
One of the members was an 86-year-old man, and other victims had saved hard all year to pay for Christmas presents and annual holidays and had been left with financial problems.
Chairman of the magistrates, David Maynard-Griffin, told Keable that she had committed the offences over a lengthy period of time and consistently failed to pay in all the money she was given.
He said: “The amount of monies that have been stolen is significant and we consider this to be a great breach of trust that you have displayed.
“These matters are so serious that you must go to the crown court for a judge to pass sentence as we do not feel that our powers of punishment are enough.”
The case was adjourned until January 18 when Keable must appear at Taunton Crown Court to be sentenced and a request was made for a pre-sentence report to be prepared by the probation service. In the meantime she was released on unconditional bail.