Mum who claimed baby died jailed for taking money

A MARYBOROUGH woman who told a pensioner her baby had died and she needed $24 to get to Brisbane for the autopsy has been jailed.

Joanne Lee Marie Capewell, 37, pleaded not guilty in Maryborough Magistrates Court yesterday to fraud.

During the half-day hearing, pensioner Elva Rickert took to the stand, telling the court of the tragic falsehood had resulted in her giving Capewell $30 for a train ticket to Brisbane.

Mrs Rickert said one day in March this year she was taking her shopping into the house when Capewell approached her saying it was "something she didn't usually do".

Capewell then told Mrs Rickert how her 16-month-old daughter had died from diabetes after an overdose was given by the hospital and she needed to get to Brisbane for the autopsy.

Feeling touched by the story, Mrs Rickert invited Capewell inside to talk.

"She was crying and I shed a few tears," Mrs Rickert said.

Mrs Rickert gave Capewell $30 which she took from money set aside to pay her electricity bill.

"She said at some stage she was going to pay me back," she said.

Mrs Rickert said she saw Capewell a few weeks later and was told there would be a funeral for the little girl the following week.

But when Mrs Rickert went to the church to attend the funeral, there was no one there.

"I am not in the habit of giving money away," Mrs Rickert said.

"The one reason I did it was the circumstances."

When police attended Capewell's home a few weeks later, Capewell said her daughter was "very healthy".

Capewell, who represented herself in court, said she had met Mrs Rickert outside her home where she offered her a drink and some Watchtower magazines.

Capewell asserted she did not ask Mrs Rickert for money and did not know why Mrs Rickert was saying she had.

Magistrate John Smith found Capewell guilty and sentenced her to six months' jail with a parole release date for November 29 this year.

Mr Smith said he did not believe a community order was appropriate as Capewell had a State Penalties and Enforcement Registry debt of more than $7400 and a payment had not been made since 2008.

Mr Smith also ordered Capewell pay Mrs Rickert $30 restitution.

After the hearing Mrs Rickert said she was pleased with the outcome.

"I don't feel any animosity towards (Capewell)," she said.

"I feel sorry for her but I am hurt from her actions.

"To think that she would stoop so low is not something I was too thrilled about."

Topics:  court editors picks maryborough

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