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Mum-of-two (45) admits defrauding playgroup where she acted as treasurer

When approached at her home, Pauline McGill repeatedly said “no” before slamming and locking her front door

John TonerSunday Life

This is the former pre-school worker who has admitted defrauding the Coleraine playgroup where she acted as treasurer.

Appearing at Antrim Crown Court by video-link on Tuesday, Pauline McGill confessed to a single count of fraud by abuse of position against Aghadowey Pre-school Playgroup on the Mullaghinch Road.

The offences were committed on dates between November 2017 and August 2019.

When approached at her home, the 45-year-old mum-of-two repeatedly said “no” before slamming and locking her front door.

Prosecutor Michael Chambers told the court the Public Prosecution Service was considering applying for compensation from the fraudster.

However, defence counsel Francis Rafferty said “a significant amount had already been saved”.

He added: “It’s hoped that close to the full amount will be in place by the time of [sentencing].”

Adjourning the case to allow time for the preparation pre-sentence report, and freeing McGill on bail, Judge Roseanne McCormick KC said restitution in fraud cases was “always a significant indicator of remorse”.

The playgroup, which caters for children from two years and 10 months up to the age of four, is located less than a mile from McGill’s home in Aghadowey, Co Derry.

It describes itself online as a “vibrant playgroup with a reputation for providing a caring environment” and says it provides “fantastic facilities, a play park, garden area, playhouse and outdoor equipment”.

Its listing on the Family Support Group NI website says: “Our playgroup provides pre-school education facilities to children aged three to four years.

“The playgroup provides qualified staff and services adhering to the six areas of learning as required by the Department of Education. We are a cross-community provision.”

The playgroup did not respond to request for comment.

It is understood that McGill, who will be sentenced in January, no longer works there.

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