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SHAME OF THIEVING HEAD MISS; Books scam ends her career.

Byline: By Alistair Munro

A SHAMED headmistress is to be struck off for stealing more than pounds 2500 from her school's funds.

Lorraine Johnstone, 42, avoided jail yesterday for embezzling the taxpayers' cash and was sentenced to 200 hours' community service.

But her lawyer, Andrew Gibb, told the court: "Sadly, I can say with certainty this conviction will be referred to the General Teaching Council.

"Mrs Johnstone will now be struck from the Register of Teachers. Sadly, for the sake of pounds 3000, she will leave the career she loved."

Johnstone used the school cheque book at Kilchuimen Primary in Fort Augustus on Loch Ness to buy books for her pupils, then claimed the cash back from Highland Council as "personal expenditure".

She used the scam 11 times between January 2005 and March 2006 and stole pounds 2610.03. She also defrauded the council of pounds 128 by claiming expenses for a training course in Edinburgh.

Johnstone, of Burn Cottage, Bunoich, Fort Augustus, admitted all the offences and resigned as soon as she was charged.

Inverness Sheriff Alexander Pollock told her: "These matters involve a significant breach of trust while holding public office."

However, he added: "You have already suffered the humiliation of having to appear in court, together with the likely consequences so far as your future in teaching is concerned.

"I take into account you appear as a first offender and you pled guilty as soon as practical.

And it is significant that you have repaid the funds in full."

CAPTION(S):

SAD LESSON: Johnstone at court yesterday; RIP-OFF: Kilchuimen Primary School
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 11, 2008
Words:264
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