Alison McWilliam told a hearing that despite the stress of the attack – she did not gamble
Alison McWilliam told a disciplinary hearing that despite the stress of her son being at the scene of the terror -attack she did not return to gambling.
McWilliam left her local summer festival committee with just 18p in its account in 2014, a sheriff court was told last year.
The modern studies teacher, from Duns, Berwickshire, ended up with a criminal record and is now fighting for her career in front of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).
The 56-year-old was sacked from her job at Kelso High School and could be struck off if found unfit to teach.
I turned to gambling to occupy my mind, but it became a crutch
At a hearing in Edinburgh, McWilliam revealed she was involved in a car accident in 2014 which resulted in the death of an elderly woman.
But when her son, Grant, 22, was caught up in the horror attack at the Ariana Grande concert she did not turn to gambling again.
She said: “I turned to gambling to occupy my mind, but it became a crutch. My son was at the Manchester Arena when it was attacked. It really put me in a difficult position.
McWilliam admitted she had placed bets over the past 12 months
“I spoke to people in my support network, family members were up and around as well. I used my medication well, and the people around me wisely.
“I am a good person that did a bad thing, I made a mistake. I would ask for fairness, to judge me by what I do.”
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McWilliam admitted she had placed bets over the past 12 months but was undergoing counselling and attending Gamblers Anonymous meetings.
Her lawyer, Jamie Foulis, said: “Her conduct is remediable, and has been remedied, or is at least in the process of being remedied.”
But GTCS presenting officer Deborah Russell disagreed saying: “This is a very serious complaint. It’s not an insignificant amount, done at a time when the registrant was in a position of trust.”
McWilliam, who had been a member of the Duns Summer Festival committee for 15 years, and Treasurer for eight, has since repaid the money that she stole.