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Church treasurer admits fraud of tens of thousands of pounds

By Plymouth Herald  |  Posted: January 02, 2014

By Stuart Abel


Nicola Holding arrives for a previous court hearing

Comments (9)

A TREASURER who defrauded a church and its pre-school out of tens of thousands of pounds is facing jail.

Nicola Holding, aged 49, has admitted taking at least £50,000 from St Boniface’s Church in St Budeaux and its pre-school.

Prosecutors have told Plymouth Crown Court that she took almost £120,000 over three years.

Holding failed to attend the latest hearing because she has been admitted to Derriford Hospital.

But Jason Beal, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said the “starting point” for her crimes was three years in jail.

He added she abused a “high degree of trust” as voluntary treasurer and tried to cover up her offending by forging the accounts.

Mr Beal said she had taken about £118,000 – about £50,000 from the church and £68,000 from the pre-school.

Jo Martin, for Holding, said she admitted to taking “in the region” of £50,000 from the two organisations.

She added that she had spent some of the money on legitimate expenses she had incurred in the voluntary role.

Miss Martin said her mitigation for the offending was “largely medical”.

Holding, of Hamoaze Place, Devonport, was due to attend a two-day fact-finding hearing today so a judge could rule how much money she had taken.

But Miss Martin said she was admitted to hospital yesterday complaining of neck pains and headaches. She was undergoing tests yesterday.

Miss Martin said Holding had a diagnosed history of heart trouble and had missed previous court hearings.

Recorder Malcolm Galloway adjourned the hearing until tomorrow after hearing from one witness.

He issued a warrant backed for bail for Holding to appear then, provided she has been discharged from hospital.

Holding had earlier admitted abusing her position as treasurer at St Boniface’s Church to commit fraud between January 3, 2008, and June 17, 2011.

She pleaded guilty to a similar charge as treasurer of the church pre-school between May 5, 2008 and June 17, 2011.

Holding has denied defrauding the St Budeaux Youth Project, also known as ‘Budo Youth’, out of about £500. That plea has been accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service.

She entered the pleas last year but the hearing could not be reported because of a court order.

Recorder Galloway agreed to lift the order after an application by The Herald.

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  • sarkybob  |  January 05 2014, 6:54PM

    Jabba the Hutt !

    Rate 0
  • Foldart  |  January 03 2014, 10:03AM

    Where money's concerned, it's always wise to have 2 people watching the accounts. It might help stop this sort of greedy crime taking place. She does look the part though,doesn't she?

    Rate   8
  • HappylilLady  |  January 02 2014, 7:28PM

    You should be so ashamed what a lowlife scumbag!! lock her up and throw away the key!!

    Rate   15
  • wazte_of_mone  |  January 02 2014, 4:51PM

    And the worst of it is that the thief's lawyer will have a superb compilation of mitigating circumstances to get what will already be a very light sentence reduced even further. I hope the Procedes of Crime powers will be used to the full. Many good people in this city would have to work their fingers to the bone for ten years to earn what this disgrace of a woman stole!!

    Rate   23
  • alandliz  |  January 02 2014, 3:57PM

    This is the lowest of the low how could she stoop so low as that, hope she gets many years banged up but she won't because she is poorly, what a waster

    Rate   21
  • NICKERS  |  January 02 2014, 3:05PM

    I wish I could have some compassion for her but I have none. If it were me I would be more concerned what will happen on my judgement day rather than what some mortal Judge had imposes on me.

    Rate   13
  • kym1960  |  January 02 2014, 2:39PM

    looking at the size of her they may not be able to get throw the door and she must have spent the money on pork roast

    Rate   12
  • herpaderp  |  January 02 2014, 2:26PM

    Guarantee she'll get a reduced sentence because DIABEETUS. Personally, I hope she loses a leg to it. She'd look like a big spinning top!

    Rate   12
  • wazte_of_mone  |  January 02 2014, 2:23PM

    Neck pains and a headache? Take 1000mg paracetamol and get your thieving carcass into Court and free up the hospital resources for those that need treatment for legitimate illness. Hospital for a headache? I should have gone twice last week then! Zero sympathy for you, and I really hope you get a long custodial sentence. Stealing from a Church and pre-school indeed!!!

    Rate   42