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December 2, 2020

Crown Office worker jailed for stealing over £200k of evidence

World

P
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December 2, 2020

EDINBURGH: A prosecution service worker who stole hundreds of thousands of pounds of cash and drugs from an evidence store has been jailed for more than three years.

Katherine Vaughan, 34, of Aberdeen, worked as a production keeper for the Crown Office in the city when she embezzled more than £90,000 in cash and stole £147,000 of drugs – including kilos of heroin and cocaine – over nine years.

Among other stolen evidence items found in her home in Great Northern Road were sanitary pads, a stun gun, cigarette ends, chewing gum, jewellery, clingwrap and a safe. The High Court in Edinburgh heard she used the money to buy expensive make-up and jewellery, as well as clothes, piercings and tattoos. Jailing the first offender for three years and nine months, judge Lord Beckett told her stealing items of evidence that her job required her to keep safe was a “quite extraordinary breach of trust”.

Vaughan knew her behaviour was wrong but it was a “compulsion”, her lawyer Ximena Vengoechea told the court. Ms Vengoechea said it stemmed from a troubled childhood, with Vaughan describing herself as a “problem child”.

The court heard Vaughan made the first of several attempts to take her own life aged 12. She struggled at school and was bullied after being diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome which caused hirsutism and weight gain. Ms Vengoechea described Vaughan as a “woman that has been lonely, has developed a deep-seated sense of self-hatred and sense of worthlessness”.

She added: “The reason for her behaviour, it’s directly stemming from her sense of worthlessness.”

The lawyer said Vaughan took money when she was feeling low to buy things to make her feel good. The court heard Vaughan has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as depression and anxiety.

Lord Beckett told Vaughan he had taken into account a medical report indicating her mental health had some part in her offending.