Ladbrokes cashier “staged a fake robbery” with her father, Kingston Crown Court hears

A Ladbrokes cashier handed over £3000 to a masked thief even though she knew it was her father, Kingston Crown Court heard last Monday.

Chevvine Darling, 28, who was working at the time at the Mill Hill branch of Ladbrokes, has been charged with theft and perverting the course of justice, after telling police she did not recognise the thief. Darling has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Kingston Crown Court heard how on October 9 2016, the defendant’s father, John Whyte, walked into the store where his daughter was working dressed in a hat and with a green scarf concealing his face. He handed a note to Darling which read: “Put money in bag. No tricks. No buzzers.”

Darling then took money from the store’s safe before handing it to a colleague to give him. She later told police that the thief was an “unknown male”.

Whyte was charged with the theft on March 27 2017.

Prosecutor Richard Burrington said: “The whole thing was a charade carried out by the pair to conceal the true crime, an inside theft.”

He alleged that the evidence proved Whyte didn’t intend to steal from a random betting shop.

He said: “Especially considering he lived in Maidstone in Kent and this was in Mill Hill in north London. Having approached the counter and discovering his daughter was the cashier, wouldn’t he have turned and walked away?”

During the raid, Darling’s co worker Shellicia Johnson asked Darling what the note said.

The court heard that Whyte then told Johnson: “Do what I say. Don’t use any alarms.”

Burrington added that if this was a real theft “would she not have identified her own father once he spoke those words to Miss Johnson?”

Johnson told the court that before the theft a regular customer had won a large cash sum, but Darling refused to pay out.

Johnson said this had surprised her as there had been enough money in the safe.

The court also heard how after earlier cashing up, Darling had placed the money in the safe’s less secure bottom compartment.

The top compartment had a 10 minute opening time delay to prevent theft, Miss Johnson said.

The jury also heard how Darling had not followed Ladbroke’s theft policy of pressing a silent alarm to alert security.

Johnson said she was surprised when Darling phoned a co-worker from another branch instead. “At the time I thought Chevvy was just in shock,” she said.

Burrington said that police were initially  unaware of the family connection.

After seizing Whyte’s and Darling’s phones, police found evidence of 30 separate communications between them on the day of the theft.

There was little communication between the two numbers during the rest of October.

“That piece of evidence alone exposes a surprising coincidence,” Burrington told the court.

Burrington also suggested that Darling met up with her father and his girlfriend on the night of the theft, based on evidence that her phone connected with a mast near his girlfriend’s home.

The defence Mr Johnston told the court that Miss Johnson did not accuse Darling of theft in her original police statement.

He asked the witness: “Why did you add some other things to the police in July 2017?”

To which Johnson replied: “Because everything became clearer to me.”

Johnson said that she began to suspect Darling after another colleague said she had been arrested. She also said that Darling started asking her questions about fingerprints and what the police were telling her.

Darling, of Collindale, north London, denies all charges. Her father is not a defendant in the trial. The trial continues.

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