Medical reasons behind jail delay

A former payroll worker who took more than a quarter of a million dollars from her employer is free - for now.

On Tuesday, Gladys Ruth Campbell, 64, of Feilding, began a jail sentence of two years and three months after admitting a charge of accessing a computer system for a dishonest purpose.

But yesterday she walked out of court to her son's house.

Her freedom will be short-lived as she is required to surrender herself to court staff by 10am on March 1 when she will begin her prison term.

In the Palmerston North District Court, Judge Gerard Lynch accepted an application for the sentence to be delayed for medical reasons.

Legislation allows for such delays on "humanitarian grounds".

"Campbell underwent a major gynaecological surgery on January 16," Judge Lynch said.

Advice from her doctor said Campbell would need six to eight weeks to recover and it would be "unsafe, medically" for her to be in prison.

Until she resumes her time behind bars Campbell must live with her son, not contact her ex-employers and not apply for a passport or any travel documentation.

Between March 2010 and December 2011 she took $261,205 from Lower Hutt firm Aztech Engineering, where she looked after the accounts.

She said the money funded a gambling habit but her former boss, Nathan Brown, said his inquiries revealed she had led a "life of extravagance" at his expense.

That included buying cars and holidays, and starting an antiques business in Palmerston North.

Judge Lynch ordered her to repay Aztech $110,000.

Campbell, who declared herself bankrupt last year, declined to comment yesterday.

Manawatu Standard