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Clothes-loving thief from Bridgnorth admits new £73,000 charges

An accountant from Bridgnorth who stole hundreds of thousands of pounds from companies she worked for to finance her love of designer coats and accessories has admitted further charges.

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Julie Sexton-Blythe and some of her luxury goods

Julie Sexton-Blythe, 52, of Severn Valley Caravan Park, defrauded and stole more than £73,508 from the Severn Centre over two years, Shrewsbury Crown Court heard.

Sexton-Blythe, already serving a 40-month jail sentence for taking more than £300,000 from the accounts of a Birmingham firm in 2015, has now admitted previous offences committed between July 2013 and October 2015.

Yesterday she pleaded guilty to one charge of theft and one of fraud – abusing her position as an accounts technician to obtain cash from the Severn Centre.

Mr Hugh O’Brien Quinn, prosecuting, told Judge Peter Barrie that the amount involved in the latest admissions added up to £73,508.

He revealed that the defendant was in custody having been jailed in December 2016 after admitting diverting cash from a savings account at Hockley firm Reliable Stamping.

When that was investigated by West Midlands Police officers, who searched her and a beauty salon that she owned in Bridgnorth High Street, they uncovered a hoard of designer clothes, including fur coats, and accessories like handbags, purses and belts. The beauty salon was kitted out with high-end equipment, expensive furniture and leading beauty products.

In interviews with police Sexton-Blythe claimed to be suffering emotional and psychological trauma and said she needed the feel-good spending fix to help deal with losing a loved one in a car crash five years earlier.

In that case Sexton-Blythe tried to cover her tracks by creating two payees with names very similar to established suppliers and managed to get away with her fraud for almost a year.

Mr Joseph Keating, for Sexton-Blythe, said his client was facing a proceeds of crime application at Birmingham Crown Court on October 25 when he hoped the new guilty pleas would be included so that all the money could be recovered in one hearing.

He urged the court to allow Sexton-Blythe to appear for sentencing via video link so that she was guaranteed to stay at the Drake Hall women’s prison, the only one her mother is able to visit.

Judge Peter Barrie adjourned for sentence to October 27, via video link if possible.

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