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Ferryhill accounts manager "overpaid himself" for a year before dismissal by Durham estates company
AN accounts manager stole £12,781 from the property management company whose financial interests he was employed to safeguard.
Christopher Scott Wilkinson, 43, who oversaw payroll for North of England Estates Ltd, awarded himself unsanctioned extra pay each month over his last year with the Durham-based company.
Durham Crown Court heard he was taken on as accounts manager, working at the company’s Mount Oswald premises in the city, in November 2008.
Following his dismissal for unauthorised absences in November 2011, his successor noticed discrepancies in accounts and further checks revealed Wilkinson had been “overpaying himself” over the previous year.
The court was told he was arrested weeks later and admitted having over-stated amounts to be paid into his account in monthly salary in the year prior to his dismissal.
He told police he had large gambling debts, plus heavy household bills at the time and apologised for his actions.
Wilkinson, 45, of Lime Road, Ferryhill, County Durham, admitted fraud by abuse of position.
Andrew Petterson, mitigating, said it may seem, “an unattractive submission”, but he claimed that while amounting to a breach of trust from an employer, it was not such a significant sum to a business like North of England Estates.
He said the company has “significant assets” and is in the process of selling Mount Oswald golf course and manor to a development company after permission was recently granted for a large housing/student accommodation complex to be built on the site.
Mr Petterson told the court: “The offending was borne out of the defendant’s long-standing alcohol and gambling difficulties, linked to depression, for which he is prescribed medication.”
Asked by Judge Christopher Prince when Wilkinson’s depressive episodes began, Mr Petterson said it was not clear how long he has been prescribed medication.
“If he was a man suffering significant depressive illness at the time of the offence that may well have a bearing on the outcome in this case,” said Judge Prince.
“We would need to have medical evidence as it could form a mitigating factor.
“Citing gambling and alcohol will not be anywhere as near as persuasive an argument.”
Sentence was adjourned for further medical reports to be acquired by the defence and Wilkinson was bailed to return to learn his fate, on March 25.
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