Civilian RAF Honington employee is jailed for fraud

Ipswich Crown Court
Ipswich Crown Court
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A civilian employee at RAF Honington, who stole more than £70,000 from mess accounts, has today (May 5) been jailed.

Zowie Davis, 38, spent more than two and a half years helping herself to cheques and cash, Ipswich crown Court heard.

Davis, formerly of Honington, but who has spent the last 18 months in a psychiatric unit, had pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position at an earlier hearing.

Jailing her for 18 months, Judge Christopher Morgan rejected any link between her condition and her behaviour and said she had failed to provide any explanation for her offending.

Joanne Eley, prosecuting, said Davis had failed to keep proper records in her role as mess clerk for the officers’ and sergeants’ messes between February 2012 and October 2014 and the accounts had become overdrawn.

Managers launched an investigation after blank cheque stubs were discovered and cash could not be accounted for.

Davis was suspended from her job in October 2014 and tendered her resignation by email the next day.

Miss Eley said Davis took £23,040 in cash and £49,650 in cheques which she paid into her own bank accounts.

In mitigation, Maria Dineen said she was unable to offer any explanation for Davis’ offending.

She said Davis was ‘truly sorry’ but had little recollection of taking the money.

“You may think that reading between the lines this was a woman who was given a lot of responsibility and was not able to cope with it,” said Miss Dineen.

She added that the fraud had begun around the time Davis’ husband was away on active service for six months and she had had to cope by herself.

Davis, a mother of three, was married to a serving member of the armed forces and had been diagnosed as suffering from severe depression.

The court heard that since December 2014, following a period as a voluntary psychiatric patient, Davis had been detained under the Mental Health Act.

A psychiatrist who had prepared a report on Davis said that slow progress was being made with her treatments and a prison sentence would make her treatment more difficult.

Sentencing Davis, Judge Morgan told her: “I have sympathy for you but there is no link between your current predicament and your offending. You have provided no explanation.”

He said the fraud was a ‘significant’ breach of trust as it involved stealing from mess facilities which provided an essential service for personnel.