Bank robber Nicola Lehair must hand over her ill-gotten gains or face being sent back to prison, London Appeal Court judges have ruled.
Lehair, 29, of Goodliff Road, Grantham, was jailed for two years at Lincoln Crown Court on June 23 last year, after pleading guilty to robbery and attempted robbery.
On April 30 last year, she went into the Yorkshire Bank, in High Street, and demanded money from staff.
Although no weapon was seen, she claimed to have a gun and got away with £2,375.
Later the same day she deposited £1,200 in to her own bank account before transferring £1,100 into her husband’s account.
Just three weeks later, she tried to rob Santander Bank, on St Peter’s Hill, but was unsuccessful and was arrested the same day.
On October 2, Lehair was found to have benefited from crime to the tune of £2,375 and was ordered to pay back £1,140. She was given six months to pay up or face an extra 30 days behind bars.
Lehair has since served her sentence and been released, but yesterday (Wednesday) appealed against the confiscation order.
John McNally, for Lehair, argued that the £1,100 paid into her husband’s account could not be viewed as a ‘tainted gift’ under the Proceeds of Crime Act. The transfer was made just hours after she robbed the bank and the Act refers to a gift made ‘any time after the date’ on which the offence was committed.
But Lady Justice Macur said that reading the statute so literally created an “absurdity”’ which flew in the face of the “explicit purpose of the Act”.
“It could not have been intended that criminals had a day’s grace to dispose of their assets,” she said.
The appeal was dismissed.