A business woman who took £115,000 from local charity St Michael’s Hospice, which has a shop in Cinque Ports Street, Rye, has been jailed for two years.
Andrea Garrick, 54, of Main Road, Icklesham, admitted fraud and money laundering when she appeared at Lewes Crown Court on November 3. She was sole executor in the will of 70-year-old Nola Harmer, of Pevensey, and diverted the money left to the Hastings charity to herself.
But while Garrick begins her sentence, it does not resolve the issue of the money for St Michael’s, which helps terminally ill people. Bruni Llovet, head of marketing at the charity, told Rye News: “There will be a court hearing in January to examine the finances of Garrick to determine what monies can be recovered. Our annual budget is about £5 million. We receive only about one-third of our funding from the NHS, leaving us to raise – through donations and fundraising activities – more than £3million a year, about £9,000 per day, to balance the budget and enable us to continue to support local people at a critical time in their lives. A loss of £115,000 is, therefore, very significant and was the major cause of the deficit of £153,000 incurred in 2012-13.”
Llovet said Nola Harmer was not a patient of the hospice: “It was her wish, however, to give this money to us.” She added: “This prosecution brings to an end a very unfortunate episode which, in addition to the large financial impact, has caused a great deal of pain and distress for trustees, members of staff and many others who support St Michael’s Hospice in so many ways.”
DC Dave Elcock, of Sussex Police, said: “The sum Garrick stole will be sought under the Proceeds of Crime Act.” Garrick ran Felstead Training, a food hygiene training centre based in Icklesham.