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.