A supermarket worker who allegedly stole $400 from cash registers at the Tesco branch where she worked avoided jail after complaining that she suffers from severe headaches as well as nosebleeds.
Having been spotted on CCTV cameras pinching the cash, 33-year-old Christine St. Michaels initially refused to empty her pockets for manager Robert Sharman. However, when she eventually relented, $400 in cash was found in them.
Having worked at the same branch for 12 years, St. Michaels was found guilty and ordered to pay back the cash she stole, as well as an additional $750 for court costs.
Nevertheless, despite thieving, the supermarket worker was spared jail and community service, as the Snaresbrook Crown Court heard that she suffers from regular headaches and nosebleeds.
Judge Simon Freeland criticized a pre-sentence report suggesting St. Michaels should be exempt from community service, saying,” This trial included normal working hours, this defendant gave evidence to the jury and was cross examined. She didn’t require any form of facility to deal with these headaches and nosebleeds and there were no outward manifestations of discomfort whatsoever.”
In court, St. Michaels claimed the CCTV footage of her stealing the money was actually her just “double checking” the notes and not stealing them.
She claimed, “It was money I had had in my pocket because I was going to take it to the bank — I had accumulated it over time at home. It was money that had been lying around. I thought ‘Let me just put it in my account’.”
When confronted by her manager, the accused woman reportedly said, “I know this looks bad, but it’s my own money, I was going to put it in the bank and I forgot it was in my pocket.”
Nevertheless, the judge felt there had been a significant breach of trust.
“On the 6 February of this year following a fully and strenuously contested trial you were convicted of one count of theft from Tesco – something which was a serious and flagrant breach of trust,” he said.