The former employer of disgraced Queenstown mail thief Philippa Lynette Lindsay says he never saw her troubled side.
Lindsay, 32, was on Monday jailed for 17 months for stealing 21,382 items of mail from residents in Fernhill, Sunshine Bay, Lake Hayes Estate and Arrowtown between September 2010 and November 2012.
Queenstown District Court heard that she was often too hungover to deliver mail for NZ Post and she’d developed an alcohol problem after arriving in Queenstown in 2010, following a relationship break-up.
But a former boss of Lindsay, who doesn’t want to be named, says he never encountered any problems when she worked in an admin role for his company.
“When she worked for us she was fine with everything, really. She was pretty low-key but it appears everything started happening after she’d finished with us,” he says.
The former employer had no idea about her relationship break-up or drinking issues.
“She only worked for us briefly so I never really asked her too much about her personal life. She was a good worker, she seemed to be fine. We were all surprised by [her offending]. I didn’t see it coming.”
Her jail sentence is “probably pretty valid – a lot of people have been affected”, the former boss says.
Lindsay collected the mail – including medical results, final demands for bill payments, letters and gifts – and hid them at her Frankton Road property, at a storage unit in Arrowtown and in a carpark at Coronet Peak. Of the hoard, 1577 items were opened.
Lindsay began her offending as soon as she started working as a postie in September 2010.
She failed to deliver mail because of her alcohol abuse and her offending became worse after she was bitten by a dog while on the job, as well as being involved in a car crash, defence lawyer Phena Byrne told the court.
“It seems she quickly found herself out of her depth with her job.”
Lindsay apologised to affected residents, NZ Post and the wider community in the dock on Monday, saying she never intended to cause hurt to anyone.
Judge Kevin Phillips ordered Lindsay to pay $30,000 in reparation to NZ Post – $10,000 immediately and the balance by December 31, 2015. She must also pay a total of $354 in reparation to individuals whose mail was interfered with and undergo drug and alcohol counselling while in prison.