A WOMAN who gambled away more than £150,000 from her parents’ company in a bid to save the business has been spared jail.

Jane Speller, of Mallow Close, Broadstone, began to swindle cash from Poole company Zenick in 2011 after the recession affected profits.

She then turned to online gambling sites in an attempt to pour funding back into the pallet supply business.

But her plan backfired and she lost a total of £172,217.

On August 24, the 38-year-old appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court, where a judge heard she had fallen into a “dark black hole of depression” as a result.

She admitted fraud by abuse of position at an earlier hearing.

Prosecuting, Dawn Hyland said Speller’s mother organised all the company’s administration until she had to retire through illness, when the defendant stepped in as company secretary.

As profits fell, the couple decided to sell the Stanley Green Road premises, and instructed accountants to prepare a statement.

As a result of this, it was discovered that a series of unauthorised withdrawals had been made from two company accounts, and Speller quickly admitted that she had taken the funds.

During a police interview, the defendant told officers that when she had success with online gambling, she would try to repay the money, and had put £9,200 back into the company coffers.

Brian Sharman, mitigating, said: “She was fearful of the effect on her mother and stepfather.

“If she obtained winnings through gambling, it wasn’t to enrich herself.”

Judge Brian Forster QC sentenced Speller, who has repaid around £25,000, to two years’ prison suspended for two years, and 150 hours’ community service.