£18k fraud leads to suspended jail sentence for school bursar

Linda Whittaker

Linda Whittaker

First published in News
Last updated
Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by

THE BURSAR of a special needs school has been given an 18-month suspended jail sentence for swindling £18,000 in faked overtime claims.

Linda Whittaker sobbed when told she had been “rumbled” for dishonestly submitting timesheets for pal Patricia Hickman, who was working at the Winchester school between 2008 and 2010.

Winchester Crown Court heard how Sonia O’Donnell, the headteacher of Osborne School, had believed Ms Hickman was working there voluntarily – but the work she was doing was being secretly claimed for.

And Judge Jane Miller QC took the unusual step of suggesting Ms Hickman should have appeared in the dock as well – but she was never charged with any criminal offence.

She told Whittaker: “Together you manipulated the system. The claims were put in in an underhand manner.

“I have doubts that the work was ever done by her. There should have been a second person in the dock with you.”

The court heard how Whittaker attempted suicide after the jury convicted her on one of the two counts for which she was tried in February.

She was acquitted of fraudulently claiming £54,000 in overtime payments for herself.

Judge Miller said a high degree of trust had been breached and told her: “You were the school bursar and you ran the finances. All these time sheets were authorised by you or not at all.”

However pre-sentence reports, presented to the court, showed that Whittaker, of Lovedon Lane, Kings Worthy, suffered from depression and anxiety, and was prone to panic attacks.

“I have accepted that your health is not good, particularly the psychiatric report. I have accepted that this would make custody very hard,” said Judge Miller, as she ordered the 66-year-old to do 200 hours community service.

David Reid, mitigating, said that Whittaker had found it hard to cope with the demands of her job as bursar and this was her first conviction.

The trial was told how she was in charge of a budget of £2m, was clerk to the board of governors, and often worked beyond the contractual 37 hours a week.

Osborne School, in Andover Road, declined to comment on the case.

Comments (24)

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6:15am Wed 23 Apr 14

townieboy says...

Im glad justice has been done. Shes much to frail to spend time in gaol, now she can go home and put this behind her.
Im glad justice has been done. Shes much to frail to spend time in gaol, now she can go home and put this behind her. townieboy
  • Score: -25

6:33am Wed 23 Apr 14

ChronicTonic says...

Even the title has a spelling mistake !! The daily echo is getting beyond a joke now.
Even the title has a spelling mistake !! The daily echo is getting beyond a joke now. ChronicTonic
  • Score: -13

7:51am Wed 23 Apr 14

userds5050 says...

It's alright for the school to expect someone to work for nowt though. Jog on Judge Jane Miller QC
It's alright for the school to expect someone to work for nowt though. Jog on Judge Jane Miller QC userds5050
  • Score: -12

7:56am Wed 23 Apr 14

Charlie Bucket says...

ChronicTonic wrote:
Even the title has a spelling mistake !! The daily echo is getting beyond a joke now.
You accidentally some punctuation.
[quote][p][bold]ChronicTonic[/bold] wrote: Even the title has a spelling mistake !! The daily echo is getting beyond a joke now.[/p][/quote]You accidentally some punctuation. Charlie Bucket
  • Score: 0

8:16am Wed 23 Apr 14

Shoong says...

This is perfectly acceptable behaviour seeing as she is not a politician or works for a bank.
This is perfectly acceptable behaviour seeing as she is not a politician or works for a bank. Shoong
  • Score: -3

8:20am Wed 23 Apr 14

Zexagon says...

However pre-sentence reports, presented to the court, showed that Whittaker, of Lovedon Lane, Kings Worthy, suffered from depression and anxiety, and was prone to panic attacks.
In other words she was crapping herself at the thought of going to prison. Bet it's all cleared up now amazingly
However pre-sentence reports, presented to the court, showed that Whittaker, of Lovedon Lane, Kings Worthy, suffered from depression and anxiety, and was prone to panic attacks. In other words she was crapping herself at the thought of going to prison. Bet it's all cleared up now amazingly Zexagon
  • Score: 18

8:22am Wed 23 Apr 14

userds5050 says...

Zexagon wrote:
However pre-sentence reports, presented to the court, showed that Whittaker, of Lovedon Lane, Kings Worthy, suffered from depression and anxiety, and was prone to panic attacks.
In other words she was crapping herself at the thought of going to prison. Bet it's all cleared up now amazingly
Read the story. She attempted suicide. Now jog on.
[quote][p][bold]Zexagon[/bold] wrote: However pre-sentence reports, presented to the court, showed that Whittaker, of Lovedon Lane, Kings Worthy, suffered from depression and anxiety, and was prone to panic attacks. In other words she was crapping herself at the thought of going to prison. Bet it's all cleared up now amazingly[/p][/quote]Read the story. She attempted suicide. Now jog on. userds5050
  • Score: -8

9:15am Wed 23 Apr 14

Charlie Bucket says...

Zexagon wrote:
However pre-sentence reports, presented to the court, showed that Whittaker, of Lovedon Lane, Kings Worthy, suffered from depression and anxiety, and was prone to panic attacks.
In other words she was crapping herself at the thought of going to prison. Bet it's all cleared up now amazingly
You realise that sometimes, people aren't lying, right?
[quote][p][bold]Zexagon[/bold] wrote: However pre-sentence reports, presented to the court, showed that Whittaker, of Lovedon Lane, Kings Worthy, suffered from depression and anxiety, and was prone to panic attacks. In other words she was crapping herself at the thought of going to prison. Bet it's all cleared up now amazingly[/p][/quote]You realise that sometimes, people aren't lying, right? Charlie Bucket
  • Score: 0

9:35am Wed 23 Apr 14

bigfella777 says...

She fooled the school and then fooled the courts. only one winner here
She fooled the school and then fooled the courts. only one winner here bigfella777
  • Score: 15

9:56am Wed 23 Apr 14

camerajuan says...

If I nicked £18K from a special needs school, I'd be in jail. Plain and simple.
If I nicked £18K from a special needs school, I'd be in jail. Plain and simple. camerajuan
  • Score: 13

10:55am Wed 23 Apr 14

Zexagon says...

userds5050 wrote:
Zexagon wrote:
However pre-sentence reports, presented to the court, showed that Whittaker, of Lovedon Lane, Kings Worthy, suffered from depression and anxiety, and was prone to panic attacks.
In other words she was crapping herself at the thought of going to prison. Bet it's all cleared up now amazingly
Read the story. She attempted suicide. Now jog on.
Hmmm " attempted" . Jog on? How old are you? 12
[quote][p][bold]userds5050[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Zexagon[/bold] wrote: However pre-sentence reports, presented to the court, showed that Whittaker, of Lovedon Lane, Kings Worthy, suffered from depression and anxiety, and was prone to panic attacks. In other words she was crapping herself at the thought of going to prison. Bet it's all cleared up now amazingly[/p][/quote]Read the story. She attempted suicide. Now jog on.[/p][/quote]Hmmm " attempted" . Jog on? How old are you? 12 Zexagon
  • Score: 11

11:05am Wed 23 Apr 14

Superior Being says...

what a vile specimen. How on earth are people defending her in any way.

She should be in prison. Stealing from children is disgusting, but no its ok because she gets a little worried sometime.
what a vile specimen. How on earth are people defending her in any way. She should be in prison. Stealing from children is disgusting, but no its ok because she gets a little worried sometime. Superior Being
  • Score: 12

11:31am Wed 23 Apr 14

Mavis Barlow says...

Does she have to pay the money back? It looks like she’s eaten her ill-gotten gains already!
Does she have to pay the money back? It looks like she’s eaten her ill-gotten gains already! Mavis Barlow
  • Score: 9

11:38am Wed 23 Apr 14

Charlie Bucket says...

Mavis Barlow wrote:
Does she have to pay the money back? It looks like she’s eaten her ill-gotten gains already!
Yes, that's what we should be focused on here.

Moron.
[quote][p][bold]Mavis Barlow[/bold] wrote: Does she have to pay the money back? It looks like she’s eaten her ill-gotten gains already![/p][/quote]Yes, that's what we should be focused on here. Moron. Charlie Bucket
  • Score: -9

11:54am Wed 23 Apr 14

ChillyH says...

What strikes me is how the hell did a head teacher not know someone was being paid for working there. Surely the final say with finances comes down to the head teacher?? Do they not pay any attention to where the money goes?
What strikes me is how the hell did a head teacher not know someone was being paid for working there. Surely the final say with finances comes down to the head teacher?? Do they not pay any attention to where the money goes? ChillyH
  • Score: 10

11:55am Wed 23 Apr 14

Mavis Barlow says...

Charlie Bucket wrote:
Mavis Barlow wrote:
Does she have to pay the money back? It looks like she’s eaten her ill-gotten gains already!
Yes, that's what we should be focused on here.

Moron.
Thank you Charlie!

Tw@t!
[quote][p][bold]Charlie Bucket[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Mavis Barlow[/bold] wrote: Does she have to pay the money back? It looks like she’s eaten her ill-gotten gains already![/p][/quote]Yes, that's what we should be focused on here. Moron.[/p][/quote]Thank you Charlie! Tw@t! Mavis Barlow
  • Score: -5

12:36pm Wed 23 Apr 14

AndyAndrews says...

An abuse of trust at the expense of special needs children. Definitely worth gaol. And how come the actual beneficiary was not charged?
An abuse of trust at the expense of special needs children. Definitely worth gaol. And how come the actual beneficiary was not charged? AndyAndrews
  • Score: 4

12:44pm Wed 23 Apr 14

waltons11 says...

Zexagon wrote:
However pre-sentence reports, presented to the court, showed that Whittaker, of Lovedon Lane, Kings Worthy, suffered from depression and anxiety, and was prone to panic attacks. In other words she was crapping herself at the thought of going to prison. Bet it's all cleared up now amazingly
My thoughts exactly - fed up with reading about people who steal from employers and then get community service.
[quote][p][bold]Zexagon[/bold] wrote: However pre-sentence reports, presented to the court, showed that Whittaker, of Lovedon Lane, Kings Worthy, suffered from depression and anxiety, and was prone to panic attacks. In other words she was crapping herself at the thought of going to prison. Bet it's all cleared up now amazingly[/p][/quote]My thoughts exactly - fed up with reading about people who steal from employers and then get community service. waltons11
  • Score: 4

1:01pm Wed 23 Apr 14

camerajuan says...

townieboy wrote:
Im glad justice has been done. Shes much to frail to spend time in gaol, now she can go home and put this behind her.
Justice hasn't been done. Did you read the story?!?!
[quote][p][bold]townieboy[/bold] wrote: Im glad justice has been done. Shes much to frail to spend time in gaol, now she can go home and put this behind her.[/p][/quote]Justice hasn't been done. Did you read the story?!?! camerajuan
  • Score: 5

3:11pm Wed 23 Apr 14

sparkster says...

disgusting, one rule for one and another for someone else. No, justice has not been done otherwise she'd have been sentenced like she should have been
disgusting, one rule for one and another for someone else. No, justice has not been done otherwise she'd have been sentenced like she should have been sparkster
  • Score: 4

4:12pm Wed 23 Apr 14

St.Ray says...

If this had been a man committing this offence he would have been "banged-up" for 2 years+. So much for sexual equality
If this had been a man committing this offence he would have been "banged-up" for 2 years+. So much for sexual equality St.Ray
  • Score: 0

4:49pm Wed 23 Apr 14

sparkster says...

exactly, in my view if you do the crime you should serve the time
exactly, in my view if you do the crime you should serve the time sparkster
  • Score: 8

6:55pm Wed 23 Apr 14

Mary80 says...

Nothing says scum more than defrauding a special needs school
Nothing says scum more than defrauding a special needs school Mary80
  • Score: 3

11:20pm Wed 23 Apr 14

timewaster1 says...

I know someone who works at the school and there is a lot more that happened than has been reported. She should have been jailed. The school is now struggling financially and they can't afford to buy equipment that they need for the children.
I know someone who works at the school and there is a lot more that happened than has been reported. She should have been jailed. The school is now struggling financially and they can't afford to buy equipment that they need for the children. timewaster1
  • Score: 2

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