TWO charities left in deep financial difficulties by a crooked accountant should eventually be fully recompensed by him, a court heard.

Paul Brown-King was jailed at Durham Crown Court in April after admitting two fraud charges, abusing his position overseeing the books to take money from Bullion Hall community resource centre, in Chester-le-Street, and Mental Health North-East, in nearby Birtley.

The court heard he transferred £53,655 of the hall’s funds into his own account between 2012 and 2017.

But he was caught out when he made a cheque for £11,269 from the mental health charity to try to cover his tracks for some of the funds taken from Bullion Hall.

Belinda Lowis, Bullion Hall development manager, said it came as, “a complete shock”, when police informed her that it had received money from another charity by fraudulent means.

It only survived thanks to an emergency loan from Durham County Council, which it is still repaying, while Neil Kelly, chairman of the trustee board at Mental Health North-East, said it would have been forced to close had the fraud not been picked up when it was by police.

Tony Davis, for 62-year-old Brown-King, said he was left in financial difficulties after being made redundant and he contemplated suicide after his arrest.

But Mr Davis said the defendant’s home, in West Jesmond, Newcastle, was valued in excess of £250,000 and he hoped to repay the charities he defrauded from its sale.

The case came back before the court yesterday for a progress report on the proceeds of crime investigation into Brown-King’s means.

Mr Davis said the available sum to recompense the charities, “would not, ultimately, be an issue”, as the full amount should be covered by the equity from Brown-King’s half of the proceeds of the sale of the marital home, in Sturdee Gardens.

He also said that after his expected early release from prison, in late December, Brown-King should be able to account for all £100,000 of the “unexplained deposits” pinpointed by the Crown in its crime proceeds inquiries.

“Once he has access to his own records and computers, containing the information required, he should be able to furnish a full response,” added Mr Davis.

Judge Jonathan Carroll said Brown-King’s response must be passed to the Crown by January 31, with a final settlement hearing to take place on March 20.