Woman, 33, who avoided jail by lying to judge about having a baby is locked up as he blasts 'outrageous lie'

A WOMAN has been caged after lying to a judge about having a baby to avoid jail as he blasted the "outrageous lie".

Heather McCarthy, 33, had been prosecuted for plundering £7,700 in a timesheet scam at a recruitment company to buy cocaine.

The disgraced office manager made a tearful plea in last year claiming she had a baby to take care of.

McCarthy told the court that she had the baby in January 2020 but didn't tell anyone about it because she had suffered from post-natal depression.

Judge Paul Lawton gave her a suspended sentence and decided he would not separate a mother from her child – not believing anyone "would be so brazenly dishonest".

At the time McCarthy sobbed and said “thank you so much” after the judge told her: “I am not going to have you separated from the child”.

Her claims have since found to untrue, and the same judge has now jailed McCarthy for eight months after she admitted to being in contempt of court.

Suspicions were raised over the existence of McCarthy's child after her court appearance went public.

I told you I would take you at your word as I could not imagine anyone in your position could be quite so brazenly dishonest.

She was quizzed about her baby at her home in Liverpool and was ordered back to Manchester Crown Court.

McCarthy initally promised to produce a birth certificate, but eventually broke down and admitted there was no baby.

She claimed she came up with story in a fit of "panic" as her current partner has children.

Judge Lawton activated McCarthy's eight month suspended sentence after she admitted contempt of court and condemned her ''brazen and outrageous'' lies.

McCarthy wept again as the judge told her: "Before I sentenced you in November I was told you were a single mother, and you said you had not disclosed this to anyone because you had been suffering from post-natal depression.

"I told you I would take you at your word as I could not imagine anyone in your position could be quite so brazenly dishonest.

''You knew any judge dealing with a single mother would only separate mother and child as a last resort. I made it clear that information persuaded me to pass a suspended sentence.

"This was a brazenly dishonest, calculated ploy to persuade me to suspend your sentence. It was an outrageous untruth, which suggests you lie whatever the circumstances or consequences.

"As recently as last week you said you were trying to retrieve the child's birth certificate from storage. How you thought you would not be found out is beyond me.''


The thefts occurred between June 2018 and June last year after McCarthy began working at Bury-based Paragon Meed as a recruitment consultant.

McCarthy stole money from the firm in a timesheet scam and quit when colleagues grew suspicious.

Craig MacGregor prosecuting said: ''But In July 2019 Miss McCarthy was called before her bosses to explain why her work standards had dropped off. She never went to the meeting instead resigning from the company citing problems with drugs and with debt.

''An audit was then carried out after she left and it was found that two former employees were having timesheets submitted and monies were being paid into Miss McCarthy’s accounts."

The court heard 20 fraudulent transactions were carried out netting McCarthy £7,710.29 via the falsified time sheet method.

She was interviewed by police in February this year and and confessed: “it was me”.

The court heard she also never told her employers about her past conviction of stealing from an employer in Wellingborough, Northants in 2011 for which she was given a suspended sentence.

She jailed for 12 weeks in 2017 after stealing £4,800 from Belvior Sales and Lettings agency in West Derby where she was working as an estate agent.

In mitigation, her lawyer Thomas McKail said: "'She tells me rather emotionally today that, having found herself in a family unit, she panicked and advanced information that was not true.

"She apologises to the you for that. She is genuinely remorseful and feels genuine regret.

"She is completely ashamed and has had to tell her partner about the case. She has learnt her lesson and tells me this will never happen again.

"She has a history of drug misuse which stems from an previous abusive relationship.

"She has combatted those demons in her life and tried to move forward. She is worried that during her time in custody she will lose all of that, but recognises she has only herself to blame and that the court will be unable to consider a suspended sentence."

A Proceeds of Crime Act hearing will take place on May 13.

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