Motherwell bank worker free after £28k theft trial collapses

Case collapsed at Hamilton Sheriff Court.
Case collapsed at Hamilton Sheriff Court.

A Motherwell bank teller accused of stealing £28,000 from customers’ accounts has walked free after her trial collapsed.

Denise Friel was charged with helping herself to the cash while working at the Royal Bank of Scotland branch in Hamilton Road between February and December 2011. She denied the charge.

The case was due to be heard before a jury at Hamilton Sheriff Court in August last year, but was delayed several times and finally got underway this week.

However, it folded after less than one day’s evidence following an objection by defence agent Stephen MacBride to questions that were being asked of a bank investigator in the witness box.

The Crown wanted the trial to be halted but to be given the chance to start afresh.

However, Sheriff David Bicket wouldn’t allow that and Friel (37), of Braedale Crescent, Newmains, was told there will be no further proceedings against her.

Friel had been accused of taking money from the accounts of elderly customers, but the bank stressed they have all been refunded.

A spokesman said: “We are disappointed with the outcome, but would like to reassure that the customers affected were all refunded.”

More on this story in next week’s Times & Speaker.