A former Selkirk Common Riding standard bearer convicted of embezzling £16,000 from her mother-in-law has been spared jail but ordered to carry out 160 hours’ unpaid work instead.
Kirsten Scott, formerly known as Darling, was also told to pay £8,000 in compensation over the next 18 months to her 78-year-old victim.
Selkirk Sheriff Court was told the 36-year-old embezzled £15,999 while acting under a welfare and financial power of attorney granted to her and her then husband Roland Darling on behalf of her mother-in-law as she was suffering from dementia at that time.
Scott pleaded guilty to committing that offence at her home in Selkirk’s Leslie Place between April and July last year.
Procurator fiscal Graham Fraser explained that she’d been granted power of attorney with her now-estranged husband in January 2018 as her mother-in-law was suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Mr Darling’s mother, after becoming concerned about her bank balance, checked up and found money had been transferred into Scott’s account, however.
Scott’s lawyer, Andrew Houston, said she had made a full disclosure to the police about the situation, explaining that the money had been used to pay off debt and buy household appliances.
He added: “There is no evidence of extravagant spending.”
Mr Houston said Scott had had to resign from her job catering at a local school but had found alternative employment since and would be able to repay £5,000 in compensation immediately.
Sheriff Peter Paterson told her it was an extremely serious matter worthy of a custodial sentence. Instead, though, he imposed an 18-month community payback order with supervision and a requirement to do 160 hours’ unpaid work.
The sheriff also told her she must pay £8,000 in compensation within 18 months.
Scott, a former Royal Air Force chef, was Selkirk Ex-Soldiers’ Association’s standard bearer at the town’s 2016 common riding, becoming only the second woman ever to cast a flag at the annual festival.