A headmistress who failed to appear for sentencing yesterday, after being convicted of stealing £500,000 from school funds, made a court apperance today.

Former nun Colleen McCabe, aged 50, of Longlands Park Crescent, Sidcup, funded a luxury lifestyle with the money, buying Gucci watches, jewellery, and a trip on the Orient Express, while her Catholic comprehensive school struggled with a chronic cash shortfall.

McCabe was due in court yesterday morning, and a judge issued a warrant for her arrest after she did not attend.

It was later reported that she had been found at home, and taken to hospital for treatment.

She appeared in Greenwich Magistrates Court this morning and was remanded in custody, to be sentenced next week.

Shopaholic McCabe, who was known as Big Mac at St John Rigby College, was likened to Imelda Marcos because she shared a love of new shoes with the Phillipino dictator’s wife.

She claimed the designer outfits she bought were for students’ job interviews and a pack of condoms was for sex education classes.

But a Southwark Crown Court jury dismissed her story and convicted her of 11 charges of theft and six counts of obtaining money transfers by deception.

McCabe, who had denied the charges, shook her head in apparent disbelief as the verdicts were given, after a two month trial.

The school’s bursar Maureen Stapley, aged 41, of Carlyle Road, Addiscombe, Surrey, was cleared of six charges of obtaining money transfers by deception.

Judge Christopher Elwen told her: “I am sorry the court cannot do anything about the damage done to your mental and physical health by the vindictiveness of your co-defendant.” McCabe had tried to point the finger of blame at bursar Stapley, claiming she always handed Stapley back any school cash used for personal purchases.

Jurors heard that at the same time there was paint peeling off the walls of the school, the boilers didn’t work during the winter, the roofs leaked and there was a lack of crucifixes.