'Ultimate betrayal' as cleaner steals jewellery from pillar of community
A PILLAR of the community has told how she was betrayed after a woman she trusted stole thousands of pounds worth of jewellery from her.
Ann Margaret Moses, aged 41, of Oakfield Road was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for 12 months, at Truro Magistrates’ Court on Friday.
She had pleaded guilty to stealing five items valued at £3,580 from Mrs June Hingley-Hickson, aged 81, at an earlier court appearance.
Chair of the magistrates, Douglas Kernick, said that under different circumstances Moses would have gone to crown court, but clemency had been awarded because she was recently divorced and had a 12-year-old son with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
As well as a suspended sentence, the thief was made subject to a six month curfew from 7pm until 7am every day apart from Saturday.
She was also ordered to pay £150 compensation and £85 costs.
Speaking after the sentencing, Mrs Hingley-Hickson - chair of the Friends of Falmouth Health Centre - told the Packet of her shock and feelings of betrayal at the crime.
She said: “My immediate reaction is she should go to prison for what she has done, but her 12-year-old child has ADHD and it would mean him going in to care, so what do you actually achieve by a prison sentence in these circumstances?
“There is such a discrepancy between the sentence and what has actually occurred. But we have got to take notice, obviously, of the law and it can only be carried out as it is laid down.
“I feel absolutely betrayed, drained, tired and shocked that someone I had implicit trust in should so blatantly steal from me.
“During my years in business, when I had quite a high level of staff running a small hotel, I never did experience this ghastly action. So at 81 years of age, tell me, who do I now trust?”
Mrs Hingley-Hickson showed the Packet a valuation prepared by Atlantis Jewels on Church Street.
It details a list of 21 items, valued at more than £11,000, which she discovered had gone missing from her possession in February of this year.
Amongst the jewellery were several pieces of great sentimental value, including her husband’s engagement ring dating from 1958, an 18 carat gold ruby and diamond ring from 1904 that was given to her mother on her 16th birthday and a 150-year-old gold and turquoise ring that had belonged to her grandmother.
She said: “These were special when they were given and it does not matter if they cost a penny or a thousand pounds – it’s the fact that someone has gone to the time and thought enough of you to give you something.”
Ann Moses had been Mrs Hingley-Hickson’s cleaner for nearly four years.
In that time, she had earned a level of trust that was so absolute that Mrs Hingley-Hickson thought nothing of entrusting her with her card and PIN number one day, when she was feeling too unwell to go the shop herself.
“What do you do when you are dependent on someone? You trust them absolutely,” Mrs Hingley-Hickson said.
“I am quite careful in my handling of things, but that’s how much I absolutely trusted her.
“I had no reason to be suspicious of her. None whatsoever.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” she added.