Fiancée took £6,000 from jailed partner

Preston Crown Court

Preston Crown Court

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A WOMAN stole more than £6,000 of her fiance’s money while he was behind bars.

Claire Steeden was given £40,000 by Christopher Monaghan before he was jailed for 13 years after being convicted of indecent assault and attempted rape.

He gave her the money to help her visit him in prison - but Steeden splashed the cash on a scooter and also lent £5,000 to a friend.

The 29-year-old mum-of-two, of Stuart Place, Grange Park, was handed a six-month prison term, suspended for 18 months, with 12 months supervision when she appeared at Preston Crown Court yesterday.

Steeden had pleaded guilty to a charge of theft.

The court heard Monaghan sold a property for just over £75,000 in December 2009 - a month before he was jailed for offences against three girls aged between six and 12.

Craig Macgregor, prosecuting, said Monaghan transferred £40,000 into the defendant’s bank account.

He said: “She was to invest the money and also to send him pocket money while he was in prison. This was so he would be financially stable when he was released.”

But in October last year, Monaghan received a letter from Steeden to say the £40,000 had gone.

Mr Macgregor added “Her letter said she didn’t know how the money had gone and she had reported it to the police and the fraud department of the bank.”

Monaghan wrote to the police and when Steeden was interviewed, she admitted dissipating the £40,000 on living expenses.

Chris Hudson, defending, explained the couple’s relationship had ended after Steeden had been visiting Monaghan in jail for a long time.

He said: “As far as she understood it, the money was firstly for her to live on and for her to travel to prison in York to see him on a regular basis.

“It was also for the two of them when he got out.

“She is not facing sentence for £40,000, but for £6,400. The £5,000 was loaned to a female friend. She was told it would be repaid in 28 days, but not a penny of that money has been repaid. £1,400 was for a scooter. She had used money to pass her driving test and buy a car, as he had told her to. The car seized up and she used more money to buy a scooter.”

Steeden was also ordered to perform 140 hours of unpaid work.

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