Painswick post office court case - Karen Judd tells jury she is not guilty
FORMER Painswick postmistress Karen Judd has told a jury that her admissions of two theft offences were untrue.
Taking to the witness box at Gloucester Crown Court yesterday, Friday, she said the only reason she had confessed to taking a parcel containing a Boden jacket was so that she could get out of custody and go home,
When she later admitted stealing a Blackberry phone from another parcel it was because her solicitor had advised her to do so, she said.
Mrs Judd, 43, of New st, Painswick, was giving evidence in her own defence on the fourth day of her trial on eight theft charges. She has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
During a six months period she is alleged to have stolen 8 parcels left by customers at Painswick Post Office for Special Delivery.
The jury has been told that when she was first arrested she admitted during interview that she had taken a Boden jacket which was in one of the parcels.
She was later interviewed for a second time and conceded she had taken the Blackberry phone, the jury heard.
Asked today to explain to the court why she made those admissions Mrs Judd became tearful.
She said it was the first time she had ever been arrested or held in cells and the Royal Mail investigator questioning her would not let her finish her sentences.
"He didn't believe a word I was saying," she said. "Admitting stealing the jacket was just the first thing that came into my head. I just wanted to get home - to get back to my family."
Her barrister Roger Carne asked "Can any reliance been put on that admission? Was it true? Had you stolen the Boden jacket?"
"No, absolutely not," she said.
She had not been legally represented during that interview, she told the jury.
She said that when she was later interviewed again she did have a solicitor - who advised her to admit stealing a Blackberry phone that was found in her post office.
Mr Carne reminded her that the investigator had suggested to her that she had opened a parcel, taken out the phone and put it in a drawer - to which she replied "OK I did that, OK, yes."
Asked by Mr Carne why she made that admission she told the court "My solicitor advised me to. My solicitor said I should admit to stealing it to avoid going to prison. There was no truth in that admission."
She said she had changed solicitors as a result of being given that advice.
The court has heard that invesigations at her post office began when two parcels containing treasured jewellery were posted a few days apart by the same man in December 2012. Neither arrived.
The Royal Mail then decided to test her honesty by packing two parcels with marked currency and goods and taking them to her shop for delivery.
One was delivered but the other was not. Investigators and police then raided the post office and found some of the contents of the missing parcel in drawers behind the counter.
Mrs Judd told the jury she had opened that parcel because she thought the undercover postal worker who brought it in was a suspicious character.
"He was very shaky and nervous," she said. "That is out of character for people in Painswick. I had never seen him before. The parcel was addressed to someone in Stroud and there is a post office there so I wondered why he had brought it in to Painswick.
"I opened the parcel to see what was inside. The whole thing was more suspicious the more I looked at it."
Asked about a carriage clock found in her post office during the search she said it was one she had bought for her husband's birthday and not one which had been taken from another of the allegedly stolen parcels.
The woman who posted the clock had been mistaken in identifying it as definitely her property, she said.
The trial will continue on Monday.