A WOMAN who fleeced her multi-millionaire boss out of almost £100,000 has been branded “devious” and jailed in disgrace.
Jacqueline Hayes was the trusted finance chief for Jeremy Middleton, one of the region’s most prominent entrepreneurs and a leading Conservative.
Her position within his Tyneside-based empire gave her “the keys to the safe,” Newcastle Crown Court heard.
And behind Mr Middleton’s back the mother-of-two plundered tens of thousands of pounds during a slick crime spree.
Jailing her for two-and-a-half years, Judge Roger Thorn QC said “You were a highly valued employee effectively running the finances and, in part, the private life of the victim and his family.
“He was a multi-millionaire who you decided to soak.
Moreover, he was a public figure and my guess is you took a gamble that if you were found out it would all somehow be smoothed over.
“I have seen how capable you are of being cunning and devious.”
Hayes, 33, of Kendal Avenue, Cullercoats, North Tyneside, told police she was innocent when she was arrested in April last year. And she then lied from the witness box during an aborted trial earlier this year, the court heard.
But only as a new trial was about to begin did Hayes finally admit five charges of theft, totalling £97,347, between August 2008 and July 2009.
Judge Thorn told her “You sought to bluster your way out of this.
“You gave lying evidence and you cast aspersions on an employer who had been nothing but kind and supportive of you.”