A WOMAN who hit the headlines by raising cash for the elderly has been given a suspended jail term for stealing from her own family.
Michaela Woodey got involved in a charity bungee jump event for Alzheimers Research UK after her grandfather was diagnosed with the illness.
The 23-year-old talked about her fund-raising in the Sunderland Echo last October.
Less than two months later, Woodey carried out a burglary at her aunt’s house and stole an irreplaceable ring which had belonged to her recently deceased grandmother.
Woodey, of Ramilies Road, Red House, Sunderland, admitted burglary.
At Newcastle Crown Court yesterday she was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, for the break-in last December.
Mr Recorder Camp told her: “The ring had sentimental value.
“It was a recently deceased grandmother’s ring.
“I don’t think it is very likely at all you will offend again.”
The court heard Woodey had been out with her aunt on December 16 but cut the trip short and carried out the burglary while she knew the house was empty.
It was when her aunt got back to the house that she realised it had been broken into.
Prosecutor Paul Rowland told the court: “She found that the gold ring, valued £400, had been taken from a jewellery box.”
Jamie Adams, defending, said Woodey feels real remorse and humiliation for what she did and has never been in trouble before.
Mr Adams said Woodey had become swamped by debts and loans and had turned to gambling in a bid to pay back what she owed.
He added: “She is clearly terrified by these proceedings.”
In a press interview last October, Woodey had said she had been due to carry out a bungee jump as part of her fund-raising in the name of her grandfather but had to back out due to health reasons.
One of her friends took part in the bungee jump to help Woodey’s fund-raising.