Former secretary admits stealing almost £4,000 from volunteer-run lifeboat service
PUBLISHED: 06:00 05 May 2018 | UPDATED: 12:03 05 May 2018
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A group that funds a voluntary lifeboat in north Norfolk had to postpone buying new equipment because its secretary stole almost £4,000, a court heard.
Jessica Parker, whose homeless son Chris made headlines for stealing from the Manchester Arena bomb attack victims last year, took the money from the Sea Palling Independent Lifeboat Service in 2016.
The 58-year-old, of Corton Road, Norwich, admitted 10 counts of fraud by abuse of position at Norwich Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
Prosecutor Andrew Nickerson said Parker had been acting in an unofficial capacity at the time of the offence. He said she was found out by the organisation’s new treasurer, who went through the charity’s accounts in July 2016.
“He noticed payments made directly to the defendant,” Mr Nickerson said.
“He asks her about this in a colloquial manner and describes her as ‘flying off the handle’ about the questions asked.”
Mr Nickerson said a committee meeting was held and Parker was confronted about the claims. However, she denied any wrongdoing.
Parker was suspended from her role and later interviewed by police, the court heard.
“The defendant was interviewed and she made a full denial,” Mr Nickerson said. “She said the money was used for legitimate purposes.”
However, Mr Nickerson said Parker could not explain the irregularities in her bank statements.
The charity’s chairman said the incident had hit the organisation “hard.”
In a statement read out in court, he said the purchasing of new equipment “had to be put on hold” until extra money could be raised.
The charity provides an inshore lifeboat from Sea Palling and is funded by public donations.
The court heard how Parker took a total of £3,847 from the charity between March 7 and June 30, 2016.
Dave Foulkes, mitigating, said there were issues with Parker “in terms of mental health”.
A probation report has been requested prior to her sentencing on May 25.
Parker’s son, initially dubbed the “homeless hero”, made national headlines in 2017 after claiming to have helped victims in the May 22 attack. But he later admitted stealing a purse and mobile phone from those affected.