Visit Isle of Wight £34k fraud: Judge delivered Thornton sentence this morning (updated)

Following a deferment in November, the judge has now delivered the sentencing on the woman who stole £34k from Visit Isle of Wight. The head of VIoW speaks.

Newport Crown and Magistrates Court:

Back in November last year the former finance officer for Visit Isle of Wight pleaded guilty of committing fraud and theft to the tune of £33,875.

Today (Monday) Joanne Lisa Thornton, 56, of Sheffield appeared at Isle of Wight Crown Court, where she was been handed a suspended sentence.

Judge orders money to be repaid in full
Sentencing had been deferred in November last year to allow Mrs Thornton – wife of former Visit Isle of Wight CEO David Thornton – the opportunity to repay the money.

The judge has ordered that the money be repaid in full in seven days, and Thornton was handed a 20 month suspended sentence on each charge to run concurrently.

The CP’s court reporter say in their article that the full amount owed, plus inflation, has been passed to Mrs Thornton’s solicitors to pay back to Visit Isle of Wight.

Visit MD: Forensic accountants brought in to investigate
Will Myles, Managing Director of Visit Isle of Wight said:

“Visit Isle of Wight acknowledges and respects the sentence the court has handed down to Joanne Thornton today

“The fraud and theft came to light initially following an internal audit of our finances. To trace the missing monies, a team of specialised forensic accountants were brought in, equipped to deal with the intricacies of a crime such as this.

“The findings of the report were then handed to the police, who initiated proceedings against our former employee.

“These crimes have been committed by Joanne Thornton alone, and she is responsible for this situation.”

Myles: Processes in place to avoid a repeat
Will Myles also had this important message to Wight BID levy payers and Voluntary Contributors Visit Isle of Wight:

“I continue to assure our Wight BID levy payers that all monies received have been used fully and in the correct manner in line with the Wight BID structure and plans.

“I have put in place an array of people, processes and policies to ensure that this situation does not happen again.

“This day is a “line in the sand” and we must move on and do what we are best at, namely marketing the Isle of Wight and bringing visitors to our shores, which annually accounts for £303 millions of economic impact.

“Visit Isle of Wight has dealt with this situation, but it was not of our making – it lies firmly at the door of Joanne Thornton, who we trusted, but she stole from the organisation.”

Article edit
Clarification about money being paid back added

Monday, 11th March, 2019 1:10pm



Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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15 Comments on "Visit Isle of Wight £34k fraud: Judge delivered Thornton sentence this morning (updated)"

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So, you can buy your way out of prison now? Nothing apart from giving back what was already stolen. How much of a deterrent is that? Carry out theft, if not caught great, if caught pay back and slap on the wrist! Shows the state of our system!


It’s not uncommon for a judge to say, ‘pay up in x days,or go to prison’….


Hardly a deterrent to others that might be tempted to swindle people out of their funds


Whilst the CEO might have been good at his job with a great CV. Was his wife really the best person interviewed for the job. Nepotism or a method to help secure the main man.


Who pays for the “team of specialised forensic accounts” We all know what they cost!


It is unclear from the report as to what happens at the end of 7 days if the thief has not paid back the money. Can the reporter please enlighten me.


It’s clear, she will go to prison, as the Judge said…


So Sally Perry if the thief has not paid the money back by 19th March 2019 does she go to jail?


Sorry, typo, should have read, accountants.


There’s plenty worse goes on like increasing Council tax whilst providing fewer services.

Robert Jones

This way, VIOW gets its money back, which it may never have done had Ms Thornton been sent to prison. It was a substantial fraud, but restitution has to be better than a prison sentence, which would benefit no one.

Geoff Brodie
I wonder if that is an official position, Mr Jones, now you are the local Labour secretary? Pay off the fraud and avoid meaningful punishment. Surely at least some ​punishment was required in this case. Community service perhaps? One has to ask, would she have repaid this money without being caught? We all know the answer to that. In the real world this is seen as a… Read more »
Robert Jones
Why the hell would everything I have to say on any subject be an ‘official position’? I haven’t a clue what other members of the Labour Party think about restitution as opposed to punishment; haven’t asked them. You really are going to have a busy life if you’re expecting me to canvas party opinion on any subject before commenting on it, and then responding yourself, as if… Read more »