“OH NO, no please.”That was the desperate plea from Griffith woman Lesley Thompson when judge John Williams denied bail after adjourning her sentencing hearing today.
Thompson, 51, has been on bail after pleading guilty to two counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception.
The Griffith District Court heard Thompson illegally transferred more than $1 million over a period of six years from an an account held by her employer, Hotondo Homes, into her personal bank account.
Thompson’s lawyer Chris Watson told the court she had been suffering from a gambling addiction and was extremely remorseful.
He told the court a doctor’s report revealed Thompson was disgusted by what she did.
Thompson confirmed she told the doctor that after being called to the witness stand by her lawyer.
“I didn’t think I deserved to be alive for what I’ve done,” she said.
Thompson confirmed the stolen money was used on pokie machines.
She alleged that growing up her father was physically abusive to her mother and when her mother had a win on the pokies, it made her dad happy.
Thompson allegedher ex-husband was also physically abusive and she went on to replicate her mother’s behaviour – giving him money when she had a win on the pokies.
“I honestly don’t know how I did it,” she said.
When the possibility of a jail term was mentioned, she wept uncontrollably in the witness stand.
She said she was extremely remorseful for her actions.
“Oh god, I’m so sorry. If I could take it back I would. I will never forgive myself for what I’ve done – not as long as I live.”
Thompson said she had no idea how much money she had stolen.
“I cannot fathom the amounts. I am mortified.”
When Thompson was asked whether she would ever use a pokie machine againshe said “never”.
“They are the most evil, wicked things ever invented. They ruin lives. I’ve ruined lives because of them. I hate them.”
When Thompson was asked why she didn’t seek help for her gambling addiction, she said she didn’t know she had a problem.
The court heard Thompson had not repaid back any of the money she obtained fraudulently, but she said she had every intention of paying it back.
When asked if she would pay it back she said: “every cent for the rest of my life”.
Judge Williams questioned Thompson and said she must have known what she was doing was wrong.
“I didn’t have the skills to get help,” she said.
Thompson was then asked to sit in the dock while her lawyer made his submissions.
He asked the judge to consider special circumstances including the fact she had allegedly been a victim of domestic violence in the past.
He said his client had since sought help for her gambling addictions and acknowledged her rehabilitation would be ongoing.
Thompson sobbed and rocked back and forth in the dock, clearly distressed each time a jail sentence was mentioned.
She was visibly distressed when the judge adjourned the matter until Thursday and denied bail.
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