A charity is trying to recover more than £3,000 of missing crowdfunded money intended for a defibrillator.

An investigation traced the JustGiving money raised by the Whitley Community Development Association (WCDA) back to the personal account of prominent local political figure Maureen McSevney.

Ms McSevney was chair of Reading and District Labour Party (RDLP) until last month’s executive elections and a Reading Borough Council (RBC) election candidate this year in Redlands.

She kept the money in her personal account from October 2018 but lost track of it, according to an investigation.

In a document leaked to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS), titled ‘Investigation meeting With Maureen McSevney’, she said she “frittered away” £3,132.99 in her own bank account over a nine month-period.

Ms McSevney was a staff member at Whitley Community Development Association until May 10.

Reading Chronicle:

The investigation meeting took place on that day, with Ms McSevney, line manager Trisha Bennett, and trustees representative Maria Cox attending, as well as Aneta Banas who took minutes at the meeting.

Ms McSevney is recorded as saying: “The money sat in my bank account and was frittered away in the last nine months.

“I can’t deal with the idea I’ve f***** up for everybody else. It’s not even a useful amount of money to have nicked.

“I was careless and didn’t check.”

According to the leaked document, the fundraised money was paid into Ms McSevney’s account and when she attempted to transfer the money into WCDA’s account it bounced back as it had not reached her own account yet.

The money was raised in memory of Matthew Farrall, who died from a sudden heart attack in April 2018.

Trisha Bennett, community development coordinator at WCDA, told the LDRS: “The police have been contacted, we are awaiting a response. I cannot comment any further.

“The defibrillator has been bought and installed. A repayment plan is in hand and ongoing.”

Ms McSevney also kept RDLP money in the same account, according to the document.

The confidential source, who provided the document, said: “I cannot sit on this anymore because I think it is wrong. She should not have put money for RDLP or WCDA in her bank account.”

The defibrillator is the second that WCDA has fundraised on behalf of Mr Farrall, from Whitley, died suddenly on April 20, 2018.

Ms McSevney was nominated to be a trustee of the Queen Victoria Institute until June 2023 by RBC’s Policy committee last month but did not take up the role.

Councillor Jason Brock, leader of RBC, said: “If we have appointed her as a trustee to an outside body and what you say is right we would review that decision.

“It sounds like a troubling story. It seems to me it is an employer-employee dispute.”

He said he “would not think” Ms McSevney would be a Labour candidate again for election if the allegations are true but said “that is not a decision made by the Labour Group”.

Ms McSevney was approached for a comment but chose not to respond.