WINDLESTONE Hall fraudster William Davenport will serve an extra 18 months in jail after failing to pay back money that was ordered to be confiscated from him, The Northern Echo has learnt.

Davenport, who claimed to be a US tycoon in order to secure a mortgage on the 30-bedroomed Grade II* listed Windlestone Hall, in Rushyford, County Durham, has now been accused by police of trying to hide financial assets belonging to him.

The 61-year-old, described by police as a “real life Walter Mitty”, was jailed for six years in 2016 for fraud after securing a mortgage from Barclays by falsely claiming he was earning £430,000 a year.

He was assisted by daughter Meagan and wife Ann, who prosecutors described as being complicit in the scam.

Last month The Echo revealed how Meagan is now living in California and is expecting her first baby in May with her fiancée, a successful racehorse trainer.

Ann Davenport is also believed to the in the States and using one of several false names to hide her identity. Both mother and daughter left the UK a month after Davenport’s arrest by Durham Police in November 2014.

Police have been considering whether there is enough evidence to also charge them with fraud and whether they are able to bring them back to the UK.

Detective Sergeant Rob Pollard, of Durham Constabulary’s financial investigations unit, said: "William Davenport will now pay the price for seeking to hide his ill-gotten gains by serving another 18 months on top of his original six year sentence.

"Should he ever find himself with assets in future he will be pursued until he has paid back the full amount he obtained through his crimes.

"Anyone thinking about concealing criminal assets should take heed."

Davenport, who has been serving his sentence in Stockton’s Holme House jail, may have been considered for parole for next year, assuming good behaviour.

But after being given a default jail term by a court in Leeds he will now serve even longer at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

In 2011, Davenport approached Durham County Council, the former owner of Windlestone Hall, stating he had “significant financial means” offshore which could not be realised without incurring heavy tax liabilities.

Instead, among a series of fraudulent applications, he acquired a loan from Barclays to buy Windlestone for £241,000 – a sum far below the £2.3m the county council had conditionally accepted from a developer five years earlier – by forging documents which appeared to demonstrate his wealth.

The former bricklayer, who spent time in a wheelchair following a serious horse riding accident prior to his jailing, intended to refurbish the hall and create an equestrian centre.

But he only got as far as patching up its roof and a few other cosmetic improvements and was effectively living with his family in just one room when police began their investigation.

They uncovered a web of deceit and a background of financial sharp practice involving the Davenports who had a history of buying expensive properties and then vanishing leaving a trail of debt behind them.