A Twickenham woman who defrauded her employer out of more than £500,000 has been jailed.

Gwenda Hussey, 53  of Lincoln Avenue was sentenced to five years' imprisonment at Kingston Crown Court yesterday.

She was found guilty at the same court on April 13 of fraud by abuse of position.

Hussey started working at an events management company in Kingston as its bookkeeper in January 2008. In 2011 she became the company's finance manager before being promoted to its financial controller in 2013.

In each role Hussey had full access to all of the company's bank accounts and she was responsible for payroll and supplier payments.

In November 2015, Hussey was dismissed from the company for gross misconduct. This was due to her using the company taxi account for personal use without prior approval or authority to do so.

The company employed a new finance manager. They undertook further enquiries and discovered that between May 11, 2010 and November 20,  2015 there had been £509,155.68 transferred from the company's expense account into Hussey's current account. This amount was transferred over about 720 transactions.

It also showed that £23,083.21 had been transferred from the company's current account between May 20, 2010 and November 19, 2015, which appeared to be unauthorized. This amount was moved across 45 transactions.

The company notified the police and officers arrested Hussey on May 10, last year and executed a warrant at her home address.

Officers carried out extensive enquiries, including reviewing Hussey's bank accounts, which revealed evidence that Hussey had been receiving payments from the company.

Hussey was given every opportunity to provide an explanation for the transactions throughout the investigation, but she replied 'no comment' to all questions asked.

Hussey was charged on October 14 last year.

DC Huw Jones, the investigating officer from Kingston CID, said: "Hussey has refused to take responsibility for her actions throughout, so I am pleased she has now been brought to justice.

"Hussey abused her position of trust over five years for her own personal gain.

"I would like to thank the company for bringing this matter to our attention and for greatly assisting us throughout the investigation.

"We hope this sends a strong message to those who think they can defraud their employers and get away with it. You will be caught and you will be brought to justice."