A "BRAZEN and heartless" thief who pawned items she had stolen from her clients even after appearing at a Chester court has been jailed.

Nicola Walker, 36, formerly of Radcliffe Close, Tarvin but had since moved to Church Road, Boughton, Chester, was originally sentenced to 16 months in prison in April 2019, but released early, for seven theft offences.

But after coverage of her offending appeared in the press, six more female victims came forward.

Chester Crown Court heard on Friday, February 21 that Walker had stolen items from children - even including a boy's Blue Peter badge - as well as an £11k brooch from her 84-year-old neighbour.

Victims had also felt stressed and intimidated as they said Walker had, since her first prison sentence, shown little to no remorse to them, with one saying Walker had appeared outside her child's school gates "showing off" her tag and acted like she had been on holiday.

Judge Patrick Thompson sentenced Walker to 12 months in prison and handed her a three-year restraining order banning her from entering Christleton and Tarvin.

Prosecuting, Frances Willmott said a number of complainants came forward after Walker was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment - again by Judge Thompson - on April 2, 2019, as a result of press coverage.

The first victim had hired Walker to clean her home from May 2017.

But she later discovered a £2,500 engagement ring had gone missing.

Walker was challenged about the missing ring and became distressed, denying everything.

The victim's statement said she was stressed and worried about the offence, and had since installed CCTV at her home.

She wished she could be told where the ring had gone.

The second victim hired Walker to clean her home between February and October 2018.

After Walker was jailed previously, the victim checked her jewellery and found items had gone missing, including rings, earrings and bracelets.

They included gifts for 18th and 25th birthdays and graduation, and since being pawned were unable to be recovered.

Her children's items had also been stolen, including children's watches and her son's Blue Peter badge, which left the son very upset.

The victim said this crime triggered a pre-existing anxiety condition and now she never let anyone into the house alone.

The lost jewellery was "irreplaceable".

The third victim had employed Walker when becoming a mum in 2017 and hired her on subsequent occasions in 2018.

When Walker was due in court, she checked her jewellery and found a total of 10 items, including jewellery given as significant presents, had gone missing.

Three of the stolen items were recovered - a necklace, bracelet and a ring, which had been pawned in February 2019.

Since the crime, the victim had installed CCTV and, in her view, Walker had shown a lack of remorse.

At the time, both the victim's child and Walker's child went to the same school in Tarvin, and the victim had to avoid helping at school events so she did not see Walker.

The fourth victim noticed her jewellery boxes had been moved and noticed items including her mum's wedding ring, a wedding to be inherited by her aunt – worth over £1,000 20 years ago – had been stolen.

Fortunately, all of the jewellery in her case was recovered, but an additional £140 in cash and an iPhone were not.

The victim had suffered panic attacks and had heard Walker laughing outside her house after being released.

She had changed her routine when taking her children to the same school and felt aggrieved she had had to do so she did not see Walker.

The fifth victim, an 84-year-old neighbour of Walker, noticed jewellery was missing as she planned to visit family in December 2018.

She approached Walker about it, who replied that "someone might be kind enough to return the items".

These items included an £11k brooch.

Also missing were handwritten Christmas cards which contained cash.

The total cash stolen amounted to about £2,000.

The victim said she was scared at what Walker was capable of and felt like a prisoner in her own home, locking herself inside.

Some of the items were recovered, but not all.

The sixth and final victim discovered jewellery had been stolen by Walker, as well as a camera which still had family photos on it.

The vast majority of the items – valued at more than £5,000 – had been recovered.

In a victim statement, she said she felt anxious since the theft, which was not helped by Walker's early release from prison.

She was angry at seeing Walker display her tag and acting like she had been on holiday.

Among the items stolen were ones belonging to the victim's daughter as well.

As well as the six victims, there was jewellery recovered of unknown origin. As Walker gave a 'no comment' interview to police, the jewellery has not been reunited with the rightful owners.

Defending, Sarah Badrawy said there were no objections to a proposed restraining order prohibiting Walker from entering Tarvin or Christleton, as her child was no longer attending a school in Tarvin.

She had split up from her husband but they were still amicable and he was present in court along with other supportive family members.

She had been progressing well with probation and had impressed her current employer so much they were prepared to have a new role for her, even if she was sent to prison, in Port Sunlight.

Ms Badrawy said there was a realistic prospect of rehabilitation and suggested any prison sentence could be suspended.

But Judge Thompson told Walker: "You are a woman who is deeply dishonest. These are both brazen and heartless offences.

"You were not interested in helping people recover these items. It's clear you cared nothing for your victims.

"Twelve days after appearing in court you were back in the pawn shop. It's clear you have no respect for the court process; carrying on committing offences in the most brazen fashion.

"It takes someone with a heart of stone not to be moved by the victim statements. People have had to break the news to their kids their items have been stolen.

"You even took a boy's Blue Peter badge, seeking new depths of heartlessness.

"You gave no thought to a woman, at 84, who deserved more respect. Her confidence has been destroyed by your deep-rooted dishonesty.

"You preyed on the very young and old, these were ruthless offences."