A former school finance manager has been ordered to pay compensation of nearly £76,000 after she stole almost £190,000 from the school she worked at.

Ghislain Sharron Smithson, 52, who pleaded guilty to theft at a previous hearing, stole the money as she worked at Keswick School for a decade until 2018, taking advantage of a computer software fault that gave her unfettered access to the school's bank accounts.

Smithson splashed out on holidays and between 2012 and 2018 created fake companies and bogus invoices to channel cash for her own benefit, with more than £100,000 being diverted through about 50 separate transactions into a single account in her name during a four-year period.

They included a ten-day break in Antigua in September 2017, costing £4,700 – almost entirely paid for out of school funds. Smithson also spent £4,000 of the school’s money on a Jet2 holiday in May, 2016.

Between May 2014 and May 2018, more than £100,000 was paid from the school funds to a Vanquis Bank account held in the name of the defendant.

Her crime came to light after the defendant left her job to work elsewhere in 2018 and one of her former colleagues became suspicious.

In December she was jailed for two years and eight months.

At Carlisle Crown Court yesterday the court were told that her total benefit from criminal conduct actually amounted to £208,094.61.

Her assets that were available for seizure were said to have totalled £75,889.21 comprising of her equity in a house which is being sold along with two pension policies.

Prosecutor Peter Barr asked for the money to be paid back in compensation. He said: "We ask that the £75,889.21 be payment as compensation to Keswick School, payable within three months."

Recorder Katherine Pierpoint ordered Smithson to pay the money within three months or warned that she could face an additional 12-month sentence if she failed to do so.