A former Carlisle solicitor is awaiting sentence after admitting a £250,000 fraud.

Pauline Lesley Butler, who worked as a sole practitioner at her firm Pauline L Butler in Carlisle, pleaded guilty at Carlisle Crown Court last week to charges of fraud and false accounting.

Last year, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal struck Butler off the solicitors’ roll and ordered her to pay £22,515 costs after finding she had misappropriated client funds.

The SDT heard she had been improperly transferring money from client accounts for at least eight years in an attempt to keep her firm afloat.

In one instance, Butler had taken money from the estate of a dead client and altered paperwork to cover her tracks.

Her actions came to light after an inspection by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in 2008 and she was suspended from practice that August.

Butler’s barrister, Paul Greaney QC, said: ‘This is not a case in which money was taken by the accused to line her own pockets or to fund an extravagant lifestyle.

'Rather, the money she accepts she misappropriated was used to keep her practice afloat and to maintain the employment of those who worked for her.’

In related news, six fraudsters were jailed recently in Manchesterfor defrauding law firms out of nearly £140,000.