A victim of a Facebook holiday scam has hit out at the conwoman behind it.
Ashleigh Turbitt, 26, of Belloc Avenue. South Shields, pleaded guilty to fraud between February and July 2015 at Newcastle Crown Court yesterday.
Turbitt offered bargain breaks to Disneyland, Paris, through her firm South Shields Day Trips.
Customers were left thousands of pounds out of pocket after the holidays were cancelled at the last minute, with upset children being told they were going nowhere.
One of the victims of the scam was Kerry Devonport, 43, of Simonside, South Shields.
She lost more than £2,000 after booking a number of holidays through Turbitt for herself, a number of family member and friends.
When I met her, she seemed lovely and I didn’t suspect there was anything wrongKerry Devonport
One of them was a break to Paris with husband Kevin, 47, and children Jack, 14, and Jayden, seven.
She has slammed Turbitt as “disgraceful” following her guilty plea.
Mrs Devonport said: “I was absolutely shocked that she pleaded guilty, because we were expecting a trial to take place.
“I’m hoping she will get jail time, which is what she deserves for what she put so many people through.
“I had about seven trips booked with her for myself and various other people.
“When I met her, she seemed lovely and I didn’t suspect there was anything wrong.
“When we found out what she had done, we were all so shocked, and the children were crying when they were told we couldn’t go on the holiday.
“It’s disgraceful what she has done.”
“I feel so foolish to have fallen for it, but I’ve learned from it and will never book a holiday in a way like this again.”
A charge of conspiracy to commit fraud between January 2014 and July 2015 against Turbitt, which she denied, will be dropped.
Her partner Christopher Clark, 33, also of Belloc Avenue, denied the same conspiracy charge, which will also be dropped against him.
The pair had been due to be tried by a jury next week, which has now been cancelled because of Turbitt’s guilty plea.
Prosecutor Paul Cleasby said Turbitt will now be pursued under the Proceeds of Crime Act, which means any assets she has may be seized.
Judge Tim Gittins adjourned sentence until March and said Turbitt could have bail in the meantime.
The judge warned her: “I cannot give you any indication as to what the sentence will be. You appreciate these are serious matters.
“I do not know enough about the case or enough about you as an individual to give you any indication.
“All options are open, that includes custody.”
Graeme Cook, defending, told the court pre-sentence and medical reports will be prepared on Turbitt before the case is back in court.
The court heard the conspiracy charge involved a fraud of more than £80,000.
Turbitt admitted the lesser charge on a specific basis, which was not outlined in court.