herald

Saturday 1 November 2014

'The piggy banks belonging to our children were rifled'

ON-THE-RUN nanny Emeline Essertel stole from the piggy banks of children that she minded.

A Donegal family today told how the 24-year-old seemed like that the perfect nanny but turned out to be a nightmare.

"Emiline is in a league of her own. She claimed to have a nursing qualification. She spoke great English and spoke beautiful French; she was from Clermont-Ferrand.

"She is an amazing cook, very polite and very intelligent but behind all of that is a girl who is a thief. We were completely taken in," Niamh Vambeck explained.

Emeline moved to this country after jumping police bail and ended up working as an au pair for Dubliner Michael Vambeck and his wife Niamh at their home near Letterkenny.

"When I look back now it was her driving which was the thing that endangered us most," said Mrs Vambeck today.

The French and English teacher at St Eunan's College in Letterkenny revealed that Essertel had a fake driving licence.

"She scraped the side of our car causing €1,300 worth of damage and never explained how it happened."

Mr Vambeck, who runs a wholesale health and beauty business revealed how four of their children's piggy banks were rifled open at their home in February this year.

Gardai later carried out a sting operation at their home in an effort to catch Essertel red-handed and she later admitted a number of offences including the theft of credit cards, taken from the cars of people visiting the Vambeck home.

"We had been using an au pair website and communicating with a few people and we came across Emeline, who appeared very keen," said 53-year-old Michael.

"My wife is a fluent French speaker and she spoke to her on the phone and we said we'd be in touch. But later that day she sent us a text to say she was on a bus from London to Letterkenny.

"We were a bit taken aback because we hadn't offered her a position but we just put it down to a misunderstanding and now of course, looking back, we realise we got that text the day she had appeared in court on theft charges. It was the last day of January."

He said the nanny settled in well on her first week.

"She was a great cook and good with the children and she spoke in French all the time with my wife," said Michael.

"But things turned sour a few weeks later. My son was making his Confirmation and he went to take money out of his piggy bank and he came to us and said it was empty.

"We went around the house and discovered that piggy banks belonging to three other children had been emptied. They had been rifled."

Mrs Vambeck called in Gardai from Milford to investigate the thefts.

"Gardai didn't question Emeline at the time because she burst into tears and claimed her uncle had just been diagnosed with cancer and we just left it at that."

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