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Fraudster stole from children’s sports clubs to bankroll ‘lifestyle he could not afford’

James Harrison

James Harrison

Fraudster stole from children’s sports clubs to bankroll ‘lifestyle he could not afford’

The victims of a fraudster who stole thousands of pounds from two children’s sports clubs have called on him to make an apology.

Grant Farrell, 52, pleaded guilty at Reading Crown Court in July to three counts of fraud and one count of theft, which included stealing about £20,000 from Windsor Swimming Club (WSC) and Slough Junior Athletics Club (SJAC).

The prosecution contested that in total more than £60,000 had been stolen, which the court heard Farrell had agreed to repay.

On Friday, April 22, he was sentenced to 21 months in prison, suspended for two years, and 200 hours of community service at Reading Crown Court.

He was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of nearly £4,000.

The chartered accountant was treasurer at the two sports clubs and the prosecution said he used the cash to ‘bankroll’ a lifestyle ‘he could not otherwise have afforded’.

This included regular trips abroad and paying for his son to attend Eton College.

Following Farrell’s conviction the chairman of SJAC, Conrad Roland, said he ‘just wants an apology’.

He added: “We are pleased that the matter has come to an end, that we can finally put it behind us and that we have been recompensed by Mr Farrell for the money he stole from the club.

“We regret the fact that he appears to continue to show no remorse for the theft and the crime he committed.”

Chairman of WSC, David Redshaw, said the club was ‘let down’ by Farrell’s actions.

He said: “It was pretty devastating to people because we spend a lot of time together in a swimming club. A lot of people make good friends so it is almost like a friend was stealing from you.

“It definitely affected people and caused them a lot of unsettlement. I think people are glad that it is over.”

He echoed the words of Mr Roland and said the club did not receive an apology from Farrell.

In court Judge John Reddihough, summing up, said: “It was to your credit that you took up positions with the WSC and SJAC.

“However, you knew full well that in each role you were in a position of trust – you completely betrayed that trust in relation to both clubs.

“You transferred money from the clubs to your personal account and used the personal credit card of the swimming club for your own purposes.”

He added: “What’s most deplorable is that you stole money from two clubs devoted to developing young people to a very high standard.”

Farrell, of Clarence Road, Windsor, claimed to have been forced to move away from the area as a result of the case.

Representing himself, Farrell claimed that details of the case available online were making it difficult for him to find work, only to be reminded by the judge that he would be obliged to disclose such information to potential employers as a matter of course.


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