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A woman who took over £40,000 from a young couple to feed her addiction to gambling sites has been jailed for 21 months.
Single mum Katie Sheldon stole £45,466 from the couple in just six months.
Sheldon, 25, initially asked for cash to buy her daughter Christmas presents before bombarding the couple with 11,000 messages, Stoke-on-TrentLive reports.
Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard that when the boyfriend asked for a naked picture of Sheldon, she sent a revealing photo of herself but then threatened to accuse him of sexual harassment.
He sent her money until his savings were wiped out, the court heard.
The judge was told the girlfriend has made two attempts on her life and been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. The couple had been saving for a mortgage and to get married.
Sheldon has now been jailed for 21 months at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.
Prosecutor Richard McConaghy said: "The defendant asked the couple for a loan to help buy things for her daughter. She promised she would repay once she received her benefits. The woman sent her £200 on November 27, 2019.
"The defendant then asked for further such loans over the next few days. The defendant began to bombard the woman with thousands of messages by WhatsApp and texts over the following months asking for money on various pretexts.
"She would often say the money was needed for a loan which she would use to repay the woman. Another time she said her benefits had not been paid."
The court heard Sheldon repaid the woman just £110 – two payments of £55 in December 2019 and January 2020.
Mr McConaghy added: "The woman was giving all of her wages and more to the defendant.
"At the beginning of February, she broke down and told her partner. He started to transfer money to her account for her to send on to the defendant and he also sent money directly to her.
"He asked the defendant to send him a naked photo of her. She sent a picture. The defendant exploited that weakness. She told the woman she would have her partner prosecuted for sexual harassment.
"She even threatened violence saying she would come to her place of work and that she would be hurt if she did not pay up. She said she would kill herself and told the woman not to go to the police or she (Sheldon) would have her daughter taken from her."
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Sheldon sent her victims 11,000 messages. She received £27,659 from the man and £17,917 from the woman between November 26, 2019, and May 26, 2020.
The victims had less than £100 between them when the matter was reported to the police by a family member.
Sheldon, of Cheadle, Greater Manchester, pleaded guilty to two charges of theft.
Jason Holt, mitigating, said: "There were no lavish holidays. She was someone who was addicted to online gambling sites and the money was very quickly frittered away on the sites. She was chasing the win to try to pay back the money. She is ashamed of what has happened."
Judge Paul Glenn labelled Sheldon "wicked".
He said: "The effect on your victims cannot be exaggerated. It has had a devastating effect on them both, physically, emotionally, psychologically, and financially.
"You realised she was a soft touch. There was significant emotional distress caused to both victims who were deprived of their savings and reduced to borrowing from relatives. These are wicked offences."
A Proceeds of Crime hearing will be held at a later date.
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