A FINANCIAL adviser stole £225k from her best friend – even taking money from her on the day she buried her son.
Yvonne Cannings was left “absolutely penniless” after her pal, June Watson, drained cash from her company.
Yvonne Cannings and her former best friend, June Watson, who stole from her[/caption]
The 60-year-old saw cash pilfered on the day she buried her son Ben’s ashes after he died from cancer, and used to buy handbags, jewellery and pay back loans.
Watson was jailed in January for four-and-half years after a jury found her guilty of two counts of theft.
On Monday, a judge ordered her to pay £23,000 during a proceeds of crime hearing or face another 12-months in prison.
Yvonne, from Great Harwood, Lancs, said: “Everyone liked June. She was friendly and genuine, and seemed to have a heart of gold.
“She worked for me but we became best friends too.
“To find out that she had been stealing from us, all through the trauma of burying my son’s ashes, was a huge shock. It was worse than heartless – beyond contempt.
“I’ve been betrayed, cheated and lied to by a woman I trusted and sat next to every day for five years.
“After she was found out, she ran away to a hotel – which she paid for with my money! She is twisted and evil and totally shameless.”
June began working for Yvonne in February 2009, and gradually she took over the accounts.
Yvonne said: “I had built a company up from scratch, offering financial services, and I had worked so hard. I would work in the evenings, whilst my sons were little, and I didn’t even earn enough to pay myself a wage for a while.
“We made a lot of sacrifices. The company did well and we started employing people.”
Yvonne had lost a son, Ben, to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in July 1999, aged just 15, but the family were unable to face burying his ashes until July 2015.
She said: “I had a series of appointments with the funeral directors whilst we chose Ben’s headstone, the wording and the photos.
“After every appointment, I would return the office in floods of tears and June would comfort me – whilst all the time she was stealing behind my back.”
Yvonne discovered there had been a string of unauthorised cash withdrawals, on the company cards. Watson was the only one with access to the cards.
She said: “Some days, she would withdraw up to £750 cash and put it straight into her own account.
“To my total disgust, I discovered she had stolen from me throughout the months I had been choosing Ben’s headstone.
“She had also taken money on July 17, 2015 – the day we buried Ben’s ashes.”
“I was left absolutely penniless. I almost lost the business completely. My youngest son was living at home and he helped me out with bills.
“Even so, I couldn’t afford to have the heating on. I had to shiver my way through winter. I had to take in a lodger.
“My friends brought me food parcels. They were so kind, and it reaffirmed my faith in human nature. But I felt humiliated too, accepting help.”
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On Monday, Watson appeared at a proceeds of crime hearing, where Judge Andrew Jefferies QC ordered her to pay £23,000 or face another 12-month in prison.
Yvonne says: “I’m not sure I will ever see a penny back from her. But it’s not about the money. I wanted to see justice done and I wanted her shamed in public.
“I’ve lived through much worse than this. And I won’t let this drag me down.”
Yvonne Cannings saw £225,000 stolen from her by her friend and employee[/caption]
Watson was convicted in January and jailed for four-and-a-half-years[/caption]
The pair had been close before working together and then became best friends[/caption]
Yvonne slammed her former pal for duping her and stealing from her[/caption]
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