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Father stole to pay daughter’s drug debt
A 58-year-old man, who stole more than £6,000 from his employers to pay off his daughter’s drug debts, was spared an immediate prison sentence.
Kevin Larner, who was of impeccable character, had received threats to himself, his daughter and his two grandchildren over the money owed, Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday.
His barrister, Kathryn Walsh, said Larner was “desperate.”
Judge Jonathan Rose, sentencing Larner, of Woodview Terrace, Manningham, Bradford, to 14 months imprisonment suspended for two years, told him the theft had brought him no gain except fatherly satisfaction that he had done everything he could to help his daughter.
Prosecutor Frida Hussain said the defendant was an employee of a Bradford wool company and one of his roles was to open the premises in the morning, for which he had keys.
Miss Hussain said Larner entered the building, found the keys for the safe and removed £6,617 in different currencies. He also stole £20 from the works lottery fund and euros belonging to the company secretary. Larner was seen on CCTV leaving the premises with a black binliner. He was arrested and made full admissions. He told police he needed money desperately, but said the foreign currency looked like Monopoly money and he dumped it in a skip.
Miss Walsh said her client had financially supported his daughter for a number of years. She had accrued debts of £7,000, but she had not told him it was a drug debt.
But Larner was approached by a man with a gun who made threats if the money was not paid.
She said Larner was motivated by desperation.
Judge Rose told Larner he was a loving father who did his best to help his daughter.
He said: “Because you are a loving father you sought to finance her addiction. I am satisfied it is the drugs – taken by your daughter, not by you – that led you to commit this extremely serious crime.”
Judge Rose said it was a gross breach of trust, but the court could extend mercy because of the unusual circumstances.
He ordered Larner to carry out 240 hours of unpaid community work, and pay £4,000 compensation to his former employers.