AN addiction to online gambling led to a young mother embezzling from her own company to pay off a £120,000 debt.

A court heard Carly ­Flockhart, 29, was prompted "to seek solace in the excitement of online gambling" after her partner, the father of her son, drowned.

But her habit almost caused her business to close and now Flockhart faces jail if she cannot repay the £66,514 she took from her business partner.

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Flockhart, of Dores Road, Inverness, was originally charged with embezzling almost £100,000 from ­janitorial supplies firm WC. Supplies in Harbour Road.

She admitted taking £66,000 at a previous court hearing while she was company secretary and in charge of sales between January 1, 2009, and December 31 the following year.

Flockhart held a one-third partnership in the business and a previous hearing heard she paid money into her own account, then raised false invoices to cover the amounts. She confessed after one of the other shareholders became suspicious.

Defence agent Marc ­Dickson said: "She suffered from post-natal depression and in 2007 her partner drowned at sea. She turned to gambling and the ­psychiatrist who compiled today's report said she found solace in the excitement of online gambling.

"Her debts to the gambling company exceeded £120,000 and she took money from her company with the intention of repaying it. She occasionally made some payments, which masked what she had taken out."

Sentence was deferred until August 22.

Alan Walker, director of the business, said after the hearing he went without pay for almost a year to keep the business afloat after his former business partner's deception came to light.