A WARRANT has been issued to a convicted fraudster after suspicions were raised that she lied to a judge about having a baby.

Liverpool woman Heather McCarthy, 33, was jailed for 12 weeks after she defrauded a lettings agency she worked for out of £4,800.

But after getting out of prison she took a job at Bury-based recruitment agency Paragon Meed.

In June 2018 she used the details of two former employees to divert funds into her own account with an audit revealing there had been 20 transactions amounting to £7,700.

She refused to attend a meeting with her employers citing drug and debt problems, but later confessed her crimes to the police.

In December, at Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court, Judge Peter Lawton, handed McCarthy, of Windermere Road, West Derby, an eight-month suspended prison sentence and 35 rehabilitation activity days.

He said he had been persuaded by her defence to give her a second chance after hearing how she had given birth in January last year.

“If it transpired that was dishonest that would be a severe contempt of court," he added.

McCarthy was summonsed back to Manchester Crown Court after it emerged she may have been lying about the baby but she failed to attend.

In an email read to the court by Judge Lawton, McCarthy wrote that she was "clinically vulnerable due to asthma" and was shielding.

"I am not putting my life at risk until I am told it is safe to do so and it is my human right to be safe at all times," she wrote. "I am not at risk of re-offending."

Judge Lawton said he had seen information from McCarthy's GP that suggested she had not in fact had a baby.

"It would be remarkable if she had given birth and that wasn't known to her GP," said Judge Lawton.

"I tend to agree," said Thomas McKail, defending.

"I told her I would take her at her word on the clear understanding that if it transpired it was untruthful I would regard it as a great contempt of court," replied Judge Lawton.

"I thought it would take a huge amount of front for anyone to lie about giving birth to a child."

Judge Lawton issued a warrant backed by bail for McCarthy to attend Manchester Crown Court on Friday, January 15.

"If she does not attend this matter will have to be investigated by the police," he added.