A WOMAN who fled justice after being convicted of card fraud has been caught after five years.
Romanian Claudia Vornicu, pictured, wept in the dock of Durham Crown court when she was told she would have to serve four years.
Vornicu, 31, was convicted of conspiracy to defraud in 2007 when she put a skimming device on a cash machine at Tesco in Dragonville, Durham City.
The device recorded card details enabling Vornicu and an accomplice to take money from the accounts of cardholders who used the machine.
She was found guilty after a trial, but did not turn up to be dealt with and was sentenced to four years in her absence.
Kerry Holt, defending, said in mitigation: “At the time of the trial Ms Vornicu’s mother was ill and she feared she would not see her again.
“Ms Vornicu returned to Roumania to do that, and then returned to London where she has been living and working these past few years.
“She tells me she has travelled to and from Romania several times in that time.
“It is probably fair to say she buried her head in the sand over this court case, hoping it would just go away.”
Judge Christopher Prince jailed Vornicu, of Northolt, Middlesex, for two months for breach of bail.
The judge told her: “The four-year sentence starts today and I am mindful of the principle of totality in sentencing.
“So I’m going to make the two months concurrent, which means the total sentence is four years, of which you can expect to serve half in custody.”