Gambling addict who stole £200k from her partner is spared jail

Chelmsford Crown Court

Chelmsford Crown Court - Credit: Lucy taylor

An online gambling addict from Essex who stole almost £200,000 from her partner has dodged jail after he forgave her with the words “money means nothing”.

Tracy King, 39, secretly transferred the life-changing sum from boyfriend Gavin Ling’s savings account after guessing his internet banking password.

The mum-of-three then blew the sum on online gambling sites.

Chelmsford Crown Court was yesterday told King stole £197,876 from Mr Ling and also another £48,965 from her 88-year-old uncle, Ron Smith, through similar means.

None of the near £250k has been recovered yet King was allowed to walk free from court.


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Despite the massive losses, her forgiving partner told the court: “Money means nothing – having my partner home with my family means more than anything in the world.”

King broke down in tears as she was handed an 18-month suspended jail sentence having pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation.

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Judge Goldstaub QC said: “An unusual feature of the case is that your long-term partner, Mr Ling, and your uncle, Mr Smith, have shown remarkable moderation and restraint as well as selfless affection for you in being prepared to forgive you.

“I salute their magnanimity.

“These monies can never be replaced but they say their relationship with you is of a quality and value to them which is more important than money.”

A tearful Mr Ling, who attended court and sat in the public gallery, thanked Judge Anthony Goldstaub QC for his leniency.

Outside court, instead of blaming King, he slammed the online gambling companies saying: “They should all be banned.”

The court heard how King, from Witham, Essex, accessed her partner’s online Halifax account after guessing his password.

Mr Ling had recently overseen the sale of his elderly mother’s home and had placed a large sum of the cash into a savings account to leave to his children in his will.

The cash was transferred without his knowledge but the theft was only investigated after Halifax bank refused to reveal where the money had been sent without a police investigation.

It was revealed in court that investigators had been unable to recover any of the £250,000 stolen through the “unsophisticated” con.

Evelyn Hicks, mitigating, revealed that, despite huge losses, the family had not supported the prosecution and felt their ‘hand had been forced’.

Mrs Hicks said: “This is a lady aged 39 years old with a recognised gambling addiction.

“She has taken from her partner and her uncle who both have forgiven her.

“All Mr Ling ever wanted was some help for his partner.

“The victims did not want to pursue a prosecution but have had their hand forced.

“The irony is that the family feel they are being punished by this prosecution.

“In Mr Ling’s own words, ‘Money means nothing – having my partner home with my family means more than anything in the world.’”

King was handed an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.

She was also made the subject of an 18-month supervision, ordered to complete 180 hours unpaid work but was not ordered to pay any compensation

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