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February 2, 2011
Applause erupted in court after the partner of a notorious Perth bikie escaped jail on Wednesday over the theft of trust funds from the daughters of two dead bikies.
Tammy Cherie Kingdon, partner of Finks member Troy Mercanti, was given a two-year suspended sentence in the Perth District Court after she was found guilty on four counts of stealing and one of property laundering.
Kingdon, 34, stole about $54,000 from four Commonwealth Bank trust accounts set up after Coffin Cheater gang member Marc Chabriere was gunned down in 1998 and fellow Coffin Cheater Richard Vickers was killed in 2000.
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She was named the trustee of the accounts because Mercanti was a member of the Coffin Cheaters, but in 2008, he fell out with the gang and became a nominee of the rival Finks gang.
In August 2008, Kingdon withdrew the money, putting it into one account in her name, using it to buy a property in Balga, which became the Finks clubhouse.
During sentencing, Judge Henry Wisbey said the trustees had not "suffered a loss" because Kingdon's solicitor was holding their money in a trust.
He said he accepted that Kingdon "felt obliged" to comply with Mercanti's instructions over the trust funds.
Kingdon has no prior convictions for dishonesty and is unlikely to re-offend, Judge Wisbey said.
He also noted that Kingdon had "chronic anxiety" and a dependent personality disorder that gave her a "fear of separation" which made it difficult for her to leave Mercanti, who has been in prison since December 2008.
Judge Wisbey said Kingdon had shown an "exceptional" ability to shield her sons, aged nine and 10, from their father's "notoriety".
The court was previously told of a character reference letter from the children's school principal who said the boys were "impeccably well mannered" and "conscientious", reflecting well on Kingdon as a mother.
Kingdon met Mercanti in Kalgoorlie when she was 19 and had an on-off relationship with him for 15 years.
Her lawyer Stephen Shirrefs previously told the court that Kingdon only stayed with her violent partner for the sake of her children because she did not want them growing up in a broken home like her.
Mercanti's mother also addressed the court in Kingdon's defence, saying she witnessed Mercanti's violence towards Kingdon.
Mrs Mercanti said Kingdon needed hospital treatment one Christmas after her son knocked her teeth out.
As Kingdon's sentence was handed down on Wednesday, her family and friends erupted in applause twice when Judge Wisbey said her prison term would be suspended.
Outside court, Kingdon's sister said Kingdon was "feeling stoked" about the decision while Mercanti's father said the ordeal had been "very traumatic".
Kingdon rushed passed the media to a waiting car and declined to comment.