Cleaner stole from players’ wives

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A CLEANER has admitted stealing expensive jewellery from the wives of two footballers.

Christine French helped herself to property from the luxury home of Newcastle United’s Easington-born goalkeeper Steve Harper and also took items from the home of former Sunderland striker David Healy.

The self-employed 54-year-old was a cleaner for both players in their plush family homes in Ponteland’s Darras Hall estate, a favourite among footballers.

But at Newcastle Crown Court yesterday, French admitted abusing her trusted position to pocket designer jewellery. She pleaded guilty to theft of jewellery belonging to Emma Healy between November 2007 and November last year.

She also admitted a second theft charge, this time in relation to Lynsey Harper’s jewellery.

French pleaded guilty to a third charge of theft of jewellery relating to another woman she cleaned for.

The case was adjourned for the preparation of pre-sentence reports and so her lawyers can get information from her GP to put before the judge who deals with her.

Carl Gumsley, mitigating, told the court: “This defendant is of good character.”

French, who was shaking and upset in the dock as she admitted her guilt, will be sentenced during the week beginning May 23.

French, from Stephenson Way, Gateshead, had been employed for about seven years by Mrs Harper before the allegations came to light.

It is understood Mrs Harper had recommended French’s services to Mrs Healy and the third victim, Helen Varley.

During a magistrates’ court hearing earlier this year, it was said the total value of the stolen property was £20,120.