A WOMAN from a village near Whichurch has had a two-year jail sentence suspended after admitting defrauding an 84-year-old pensioner out of more than £30,000.

Josie McLachlan appeared at Chester Magistrates’ Court on Friday, November 17, where she was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years.

The 48-year-old, from Tarporley, had previously pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation.


McLachlan was a family member of the victim and had worked as a carer for her partner.

Following the death of her partner in 2022, for whom McLachlan had worked as a carer, she exploited her position of trust.

Following the hearing, Detective Constable Gareth Yates, of the Cheshire Police Economic Crime Team, said: “In her personal statement, the victim told the court that she had known McLachlan for more than 40 years and treated her like the ‘daughter she never had’.

“She whole heartedly trusted her and was grateful for the support that she had provided.

“She stated that the impact of McLachlan’s offending had been heart-breaking, and the fact that she openly lied to her face, caused great anguish and means that she now finds it difficult to trust people.

“While I understand that the victim did not want McLachlan to get a custodial sentence, I hope that the fact that she had now been held accountable for her actions will provide her with some closure."

McLachlan pocketed over 100 cheques from the 84-year-old victim, before forging the pensioner's signature and siphoning a total of £32,713.50 from her account.

She was caught after the victim herself noticed a number of suspicious transactions on her account.

The incident was reported to Cheshire Police in May 2023 and an investigation was launched by the Economic Crime Team.

McLachlan was quickly identified as the suspect and following her arrest she made a full admission to her offences at an earlier hearing.

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During the sentencing, His Honour Judge Michael Hayton said that McLachlan had breached the trust of the victim in the most grotesque way and that he had no pleasure in passing a suspended sentence.

However, at the request of the victim, who had written to the court requesting leniency, mother-of two McLachlan would be going home to her children instead of HMP Styal.

In addition to the suspended prison sentence, McLachlan must also carry out a six-month mental health treatment programme, 15 days of a rehabilitation activity requirement and 150 hours unpaid work.