Couple who stole thousands of pounds from vulnerable disabled people have assets frozen
A charity boss and his wife who stole thousands of pounds from vulnerable disabled people have been ordered to hand over their assets.
Peter Childs, the former chairman of Lincoln and District Mencap, and his wife Alison were each jailed for three years back in April 2014 after being convicted of a string of theft and fraud charges.
The couple, who have since served their sentences, appeared before Lincoln Crown Court at a hearing on Monday, February 22, at which their available assets were confiscated.
The money is to be used to compensate their 15 victims who were clients of the charity which was independent of Royal Mencap.
Recorder Tom Rochford ruled that Peter Childs benefited from his crimes by £295,000 and ordered that his available assets of £28,981 should be confiscated.
Alison Childs was ruled to have benefited from crime by £270,000 and her available assets of £18,179 were also confiscated.
The assets include a chalet at a holiday complex at Hunstanton, Norfolk, which was ordered to be sold with the proceeds confiscated.
The couple were given three months to pay with the threat of a further six month jail sentence if the money is not handed over.
Recorder Rochford, in making his ruling, said: “Compensation is to be paid from the confiscation proceeds.”
The compensation will go to the 15 victims who are to receive amounts of between £690 and £3,550.
At the original trial back in 2014 a jury was told that Peter Childs systematically exploited vulnerable disabled people who were clients of the charity.
He pocketed their disability living allowance and their cold weather payments and persuaded them to hand over their life savings telling them the money would be safe with Lincoln and District Mencap. On top of that for years he overcharged clients by up to 100% for gas and electricity bills in their supported housing.
The jury heard that Childs was assisted in the thefts by his wife, who worked as accommodation manager for the organisation, with the pair pocketing more than £200,000 over a six year period.
The couple enjoyed a comfortable life in their rented farm house where they kept their two horses and bred German Shepherd dogs.
But they were caught out after Peter Childs suffered a stroke which left him in a wheelchair and unable to look after himself. In his absence other staff at the charity discovered discrepancies in the accounts and called in police.
Peter Childs, 61 at the time of his trial, and Alison Childs, 48, who at the time lived in Nettleham, were each convicted by a jury of 12 charges of theft and 14 charges of fraud by abuse of position between December 2005 and December 2011.
Alison Childs was found guilty of a further fraud charge. They had denied the charges. Peter Childs had previously admitted two charges of fraud.
Judge Sean Morris, in his sentencing remarks, told them: “These were a mean and calculated series of thefts.
“You were both in positions of the utmost trust. You were entrusted to look after the best interests of some of the most vulnerable people. This was confidence fraud involving the deliberate targeting of a large number of victims. It became a way of life for you.
“I am convinced that if that stroke had not happened the overwhelming likelihood is that this would still be going on.”