For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
"Pregnant" thief who avoided jail quizzed by police
A THIEF who avoided prison after claiming she was pregnant has been quizzed by police after it emerged she was not expecting a baby.
Lisa Philips, 36, told a court in October that she was due to give birth two months later - but no baby has ever arrived.
She was at Teesside Crown Court after stealing £15,000 from her aunt to pay off her own debts and buy a £2,000 television.
Philips, from Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, got a four-month suspended prison sentence after she admitted a charge of theft.
She was also given a 12-month supervision order and an additional one-month suspended jail term for obstructing police.
Now, it can be revealed that the student - said to have been ashamed at her crime - has seemingly conned the court.
Police said: "A 36-year-old has been helping with inquiries in relation to an allegation of perverting the course of justice."
The Northern Echo understands that bespectacled Philips was not arrested, but interviewed by detectives under caution.
A file has been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service, where lawyers will make a decision on whether to charge her.
A source said: "It seems she was never ever pregnant. She has tried to maintain she did a home test and thought she was.
"Family members didn't think she was, so we waited until December when she said she was due, and that came and went."
At court in October, Philips's lawyer Rebecca Stephenson, told Judge Peter Armstrong: “She’s deeply ashamed of her actions."
She added: "She has lost a great deal on a personal level, with family members and the breakdown of her relationship with her partner who she is currently pregnant to.”
The court heard how Philips, of Langdale Place, even created a fake bank statement in a desperate attempt to hide her dishonesty.
The money was transferred into an account that Philips had full control of to allegedly keep it safe from her aunt's Turkish boyfriend.
Twice her aunt asked for money totalling £300, which she was given from the account, but no receipts were ever produced.
She became suspicious when repeated requests to see statements for the account were met with excuses by Philips.
It later emerged that she had stolen £14,700 to pay off debts and to buy an Xbox games console and a flat screen television.
Judge Armstrong told her: “Your initial concern about your aunt’s partner may well have been well-motivated but you went on and did the thing that you were concerned about.
“The temptation for you was too great as you plundered the money to pay off your debts.”