Gambling addict mum begs judge "Please, don't send me to jail" as she is sentenced to 27 months for fraud

Gambling addict mum begs judge "Please, don't send me to jail" as she is sentenced to 27 months for fraud

By Michael Upton | 16/02/2022

Gambling addict mum begs judge 'Please, don't send me to jail' as she is sentenced to 27 months for fraud


A GAMBLING addict who stole £48,000 from her employer was sent texts and emails by betting companies urging to go on playing — even after pleading with them to stop.

In distressing scenes at Sheffield Crown Court, Rachael McRoy — who was jailed for 27 months for fraud — begged the sentencing judge to change his mind, screaming from the dock: “No, please don’t send me to prison, I can’t go to prison. I need my son.”

Judge Peter Kelson had heard 36-year-old McRoy, who has a nine-year-old son, had tried to kick her addiction and installed apps on her phone to block gambling websites but had still been sent marketing emails from the betting sites.

But the judge decided her crime was so serious she must serve a custodial sentence, telling her: “This was far from a victimless crime.”

McRoy stole the money while working as an accounts administrator for courier firms Intime Express and Rocket Express between 2016 and 2019.

After senior staff uncovered evidence of money being stolen, McRoy, of Barnsley Road, Wath, tried to “cover her tracks” by attempting to block an investigation, the court heard.

Company director Kevin Morrissey read out his victim impact statement in court, in which he said McRoy’s crimes had impacted on his mental health through “added stress which has resulted in numerous sleepless nights, knowing that the losses could not only ruin my livelihood but that of my employees”.

He added: “I could not believe a trusted employee who I had tried to help at my own expense would do this to me.”

Prosecutor Ms Kay Hollis said the fraud was “cause of significant distress to Mr Morrissey” and had “caused a significant impact on him”.

Ms Laura Marshall, mitigating, outlined how McRoy had tried and failed to tackle her gambling addiction, saying she had received “numerous emails from companies” despite her having asked them to stop sending them.

Ms Marshall said McRoy had installed an app on her phone called Gamstop, which blocked access to gambling sites, but had still been sent emails and texts inviting her to continue gambling.

The barrister said McRoy had come clean to her son, saying: “She has admitted to him what she has done.

“She found this particularly distressing but felt it important that she told her son: ‘Mummy has done something bad and is awaiting the punishment for that’.

“The defendant does not have a support network in Sheffield. Her family do support her but do not condone what she has done.

“She moved to the area with her former partner, but their split has been acrimonious.

“People she knew in the local area have effectively sided with her ex-partner and she has found herself completely isolated but trying to do the best for her son.

“This matter has been hanging over her for the past two years and with the knowledge that this court had the power to send her into custody.

“She has debts of £18,000 and is working with a charity to try to reduce this.
“She has no assets, she rents a property and does not have a car and is doing what she can to pay back those debts.

“She has said if she ever has anything, they (her former employer) can have it — she is not trying to shirk her responsibilities.”

Ms Marshall said McRoy was “ashamed of her actions”, adding: “She said it was a shock to her that the little figures added up to such a large amount.”

Appealing the judge to suspend any sentence, Ms Marshall said McRoy was “terrified” of being sent to prison.

“She knows she has to be punished for what she did,” the barrister added.

“She has not sought to excuse or justify her behaviour but has tried to provide an explanation.”

Judge Kelson noted how McRoy, who stole the money in 63 transactions between November 2016 and January 2019, had made “a deliberate and blatant attempt to cover your tracks once your employer had started to investigate”.

He said company director Mr Morrissey had “suffered”, adding: “This is fraud on a company, but it is far from a victimless crime.”

McRoy tearfully begged the judge to reconsider but was ushered from the dock to begin her sentence.