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Former head teacher Robert Juniper and office manager Yvonne Pucknell accused of taking £13,000 from Ashford's Phoenix Community Primary

A former head teacher and his office manager have appeared in court charged with helping themselves to more than £13,000 of a primary school’s money.

Robert Juniper is accused of using his position as head of Phoenix Community Primary to take £3,841 of the school’s money for his own use on April 29, 2013.

Yvonne Pucknell, who has worked at the school in Belmont Road, Kennington, for more than 20 years, has been charged with gaining £7,756.95 through fraud and stealing a further £2,091.49.

Yvonne Pucknell leaving court
Yvonne Pucknell leaving court

She is alleged to have taken the money between January 1, 2011 and April 29, 2013.

A court heard this week that Mr Juniper’s successor, Frances Nation, spotted a discrepancy in the school’s financial records and queried it.

Natalie Brown, for the Crown Prosecution Service, told Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on Monday that Pucknell, a 62-year-old mother, was suspended while the school launched an investigation with Kent County Council.

Juniper, 55, of Jubilee Fields, Upchurch, near Sittingbourne, chose not to enter a plea in relation to a charge of fraud by abuse of position when the pair appeared in court.

Former headteacher of Ashford's Phoenix Primary School, Robert Juniper
Former headteacher of Ashford's Phoenix Primary School, Robert Juniper

Pucknell, of Bybrook Road, Kennington, pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud by abuse of position and theft by employee.

The case will be heard at Canterbury Crown Court next month and the pair were granted unconditional bail until then.


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