A WOMAN who was facing a jail term for stealing £118,000 entered a suicide pact with her husband and were found hanging from a footbridge on the North Circular Road.
Senior bank clerk Bindi Dhanji, 31, fled court last Tuesday before she was due to be sentenced for plundering the savings of elderly customers.
Dhanji and her husband, Kishore, 33, were found hanging from the footbridge near their home at the busy Staples Corner junction at 6.35am the following day.
Dhanji, a bank clerk at HSBC, had admitted stealing the money from the accounts of two pensioners while employed at the Notting Hill Gate and Portobello Road branches.
In one case she continued to make cash withdrawals for 10 months after the woman died, and took close to £60,000 before the account was suspended.
She then stole a similar amount from a second customer in her eighties, after befriending the woman by lavishing her with flowers and chocolates.
But last week, after showing up at London's Southwark Crown Court with her husband in the morning, Dhanji vanished before sentence could be passed.
Her lawyer, Richard Parry, told the court: "I think she clearly seems to have panicked.
"She seemed to be, I thought, fairly stoical about the outcome. Her husband took a different view; he seemed to place too much reliance on the pre-sentence report."
Dhanji was first investigated when HSBC bosses learned that her first victim had died in December 2008 and suspended the woman's account.
Relatives complained to the bank about Dhanji's refusal to give them access to bank statements, and her employers identified irregularities in the savings of the second elderly client.
Last May Dhanji confessed to stealing from the customers but claimed a man, whom she was not prepared to name, had threatened her with violence unless she gave him money.
She said she targeted the pensioners because she thought their bank accounts would not be properly checked.
It is thought Dhanji used the stolen money to put down a £80,000 deposit on a house in Watford.
Dhanji, of North Circular Road, Neasden, admitted two counts of theft by an employee - with losses totalling £118,000 - between September 2005 and December 2008.
HSBC has reimbursed the victims.