A woman who fled home to Mauritius after stealing more than £31,000 from a Watford company was jailed was for 16 months on Tuesday.

Reshma Hurnam, 29, worked as the Assistant Accounts Manager in the finance department at the Watford office of Porcelanosa, which supplies tiles, bathrooms and kitchens.

On 19 occasions, between March 10 and June 30 last year she used the company's refund system to put money on two of her credit cards, St Albans crown court was told.

Prosecutor Alex Krickler said Hurnam unexpectedly left the company on July 1 last year and told colleagues her father had required a kidney transplant in Mauritius.

The fraud was later discovered when colleagues examined her office emails.

Hurnam, who had worked in the department with five other people since September 2007, did not know she had been found out and was arrested on March 26 this year when she returned to the UK. She had £2,000 cash on her and another £9,000 was recovered from her bank accounts.

When she was interviewed by the police she falsely claimed she had needed money for IVF treatment.

Hurnam, of Wellington Road, Watford, pleaded guilty to the theft of £31,144.89. She was of previous good character.

Defence barrister Ademola Akilo said Hurman was in danger of self-harm and had been seeing psychiatrists in Watford. He said: "Her intention was to pay the money back."

He said Hurman, who was earning around £21,000 a year, had been given responsibilities over and above her earnings.

Jailing her, Recorder James Wood QC told Hurnam she had "grossly breached the trust of her employers". He went on: "You systematically milked the company by refunding money on two of your credit cards."