A FORMER bursar who stole £100,000 from a primary school went to hospital complaining of chest pains on the morning she was due to appear in the dock.

Susan Margaret Ashworth, 57, was due to appear before Judge Beverley Lunt at Preston Crown Court yesterday morning to face a two-day trial of issue over an allegation she stole £142,545 from Baxenden St John’s CE Primary School.

Ashworth, of Dorset Drive, Clitheroe, pleaded guilty to theft by employee and converting criminal property when she appeared at Burnley Crown Court in December, but claimed the figure she stole was closer to £40,000.

Tim Storrie, defending, said a trial of issue was no longer required as his client was now entered a babis of plea, which the prosecution accepted that she stole £100,000 and the rest was money she was legitimately entitled to.

Ashworth was due in the dock at 10.30am yesterday to give evidence but the court heard she had gone to Royal Blackburn Hospital at 9am complaining of chest pains.

Judge Lunt said Ashworth had admitted herself at the hospital under similar circumstances in March when she was due before Judge Jonathan Gibson at Burnley Crown Court. At that time Judge Gibson ordered a medical report but as yet none had been presented to the court.

Judge Lunt adjourned the case until 11am today when Ashworth is due to be sentenced for the offences which took place between January 2011 and August 2016 when Ashworth was an employee at the school.

Mr Storrie asked for an adjournment of more than a day because doctors may not have checked his client out of hospital by tomorrow morning.

But Judge Lunt said she had not been presented with any medical reports so had no idea whether Ashworth’s health complaints were genuine.

Judge Lunt said: “I am somewhat suspicious as this is the second time she has admitted herself into hospital when she was due to appear in court. There has not been a shred of medical evidence or documents to support her complaints.

“Without such evidence I am inclined to issue a bench warrant so she is produced at court. She has had chance after chance. I have to see something from a medical professional to tell me what is going on.

“I might be considering charging her with a bail act offence if some medical history isn’t produced. I am fed up of not knowing what is going on. I can’t see why we don’t have any medical evidence when medical reports were being sought way back in March.”