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Woman left distraught after 'postmistress stole precious rings', jury told in Painswick Post Office trial

By The Citizen  |  Posted: April 23, 2014

Karen Judd

POSTMISTRESS Karen Judd allegedly stole a parcel containing a woman’s engagement ring and her mum’s wedding ring, jurors heard.

Royal Mail manager in Stroud, Andrew Yarworth, said he contacted the alleged victim because she was so distraught that the parcel posted to her by jeweller Graham Nash from Painswick never arrived.

It was one of two parcels of repaired jewellery sent by Mr Nash from Painswick Post Office in the space of a few days and they both disappeared, the jury was told.

Mr Yarworth told Gloucester Crown Court it was ‘very, very, very, very rare’ for anything posted Special Delivery to get lost.

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Such parcels are scanned and signed for at every stage of their journey from post office to recipient, he said.

He was giving evidence on the second day of the trial of Painswick postmistress Judd, 42, of New Street, Painswick, who denies eight charges of stealing postal packets between September 2012 and March 2013. Mr Yarworth told the jury that when Mr Nash complained about his two missing parcels he began enquiries. He found they had been received at Painswick Post Office and scanned and signed for – but then the trail went cold.

“After the first of Mr Nash’s parcels was not delivered he came to see me,” said Mr Yarworth. “I did a track and trace on it and found that the parcel had not entered into the Royal Mail – it had never been scanned after its arrival at Painswick Post Office.

“Later Mr Nash came in and said there was a second item and the same had happened. I looked into that and found the same result.”

He said his office deals with ‘hundreds and hundreds’ of Special Delivery parcels every day and there are virtually never any problems.

Cross-examined by Roger Carne, defending, he conceded that drivers who collected parcels from local Post Offices did not check inside sealed bags of items to ensure everything listed was actually there.

He also conceded it was possible someone at the Gloucester Mail Centre could have stolen or mislaid parcels.

Richard Cole, prosecuting, said that shortly before the alleged thefts began Judd had been in dispute with Royal Mail over a deficiency of £4,500 in the business.

“She had financial debts, she was in dispute with the Post Office, she was acting in rebellion against them,” he suggested. “For whatever reason, she carried out these thefts.”

The trial continues tomorrow.

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