Woman falsely accused her cleaner of £14,000 jewellery theft

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

An innocent cleaner was arrested and spent seven hours in a police station after being accused by her friend and employer of stealing £14,000-worth a jewellery, a court heard.

She was held when the friend she cleaned for Judith Pullen, 61, claimed items of her jewellery had been stolen, Norwich Crown Court heard.

The victim was only cleared when police found Pullen had been caught on CCTV taking some of the “stolen” items to a pawnbrokers.

Danielle O’Donovan, prosecuting, said the investigations showed that Pullen had made up the allegation about the theft of the jewellery, which she said was worth more than £14,000.

In an impact statement the victim, who the court heard was of good character, said that being falsely accused of theft had caused her a great deal of anxiety and upset.

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Ms O’Donovan said that the victim was a friend and cleaner to the defendant: “The impact on her has been significant.”

She said that the victim considered herself a good person and this had made her “feel horrible.”

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Pullen, of Yarmouth Road, Hemsby, admitted attempting to pervert the course of justice between May 9, 2018 and June 14, 2018.

Judge Anthony Bate ordered Pullen to pay £500 compensation to the victim for the anguish she had put her through.

He also imposed a six-month jail term suspended for 12 months and a six-month curfew between 7pm to 7am each day.

Judge Bate told Pullen that she had made a false allegation about theft of her jewellery to Norfolk police which led to the arrest of the victim, adding: “Your account led police to arrest a lady that was wholly innocent and she was held as a suspect for seven hours and interviewed.”

However he accepted there had been a long delay in the case coming to court and that Pullen had physical and mental health issues.

He said because of the difficulties of the pandemic, the curfew imposed would mean she would have to remain in her own home, where she would be safe from infection.

Pullen also had to pay £300 towards costs and Judge Bate said that any order of compensation would not stop the victim seeking damages in other courts.

Graham Goodwill, for Pullen, said she deserved credit for her plea: “She desperately wants to put this episode behind her.”

He said she was willing to pay compensation.

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