A CLEANER who stole gold and diamond jewellery belonging to two footballer’s wives has been spared jail.
Christine French fell prey to the temptation of the “wealth she was surrounded by,” and pocketed precious gems belonging to the wives of former Sunderland AFC striker David Healy and Easington-born Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper.
The self-employed 55-year-old – who was paid about £30 per week – sold or pawned the stolen items to help pay off her crippling £15,000 credit card debt built up after her husband left her.
French, from Stephenson Way, Winlaton, Gateshead, admitted three charges of theft relating to £20,000 worth of rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings belonging to Lynsey Harper, Emma Healy and a third woman called Helen Varley.
Judge Richard Lowden sentenced her to eight months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with supervision for 12 months.
He said: “You stole from people who trusted you, and in circumstances where you were allowed to get on with what you were doing because they trusted you.
“You felt temptation and took what was theirs because you were short of money at the time and they appeared not to be.”