A NURSE defrauded a mental health trust out of more than £10,000 by claiming sick pay, while she was working in a second job.

Runwell Hospital nurse Tendayi Nyamutambo submitted doctor’s certificates stating she was stressed and depressed.

But she then travelled to St Luke’s Hospital, in Attleborough, Norfolk, to work, Chelmsford Crown Court was told.

The 32-year-old nurse of Shakespeare Drive, Westcliff, denied making false representations to South Essex Partnership Trust between February and June 2008. However, she was convicted by a jury at Chelmsford Crown Court earlier this month.

At her sentencing, she was handed a 12-month community order and told she must carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

The court was told Nyamu-tambo started a second job at St Luke’s in October 2007.

She continued there while she was getting the sick pay from her job at Runwell Hospital, which added up to £7,159 net from a gross payment of £10,136.

St Luke’s eventually found out and terminated her employment, said prosecutor Robin Du Preez.

Nyamutambo had claimed she was unaware the £7,000 had been paid into her account and that she had not intended to commit fraud.

Her solicitor, Simon Gledhill told Judge Laura Harris: “Her payments came to an end because she stopped submitting sickness certificates.” He pointed out she had successfully balanced two roles, working enormous hours a week and travelling between the two locations, with no complaints about her work.

Mr Gledhill added Nyamutambo had continued to work for South Essex Partnership Trust without any problems, and was a dedicated nurse, but now stood to lose “the job she loves and worked so hard for”.

Judge Laura Harris, who imposed the sentence, said she was not ordering the defendant to pay compensation to the trust.

She told Nyamutambo it was a serious breach of trust. “You have paid very dearly for this fraud because your employment with South Essex Partnership Trust is now in jeopardy, and your whole future as a nurse is now in jeopardy.”