I Spent [Pounds Sterling]3,000 and Seven Hard Years on a Phoney PhD

Article excerpt

AFTER seven years of diligent study, often up to 15 hours a day, Beatrice Harris proudly added the letters PhD to her name.

Armed with her doctorate in psychology and criminology, she then began applying for teaching posts.

At that point a furious Mrs Harris, 55, learned that for all those years she had been wasting her time and [pounds sterling]3,000 fees.

Nobody she wrote to had heard of the European College Collective, or its principal Philip August, or the doctorate he had given her.

Mrs Harris - who was awarded an MBE in 1994 for 17 years of answering phones at Tory Central Office - reported her problem to the Trading Standards Office in Bournemouth.

They prosecuted August, 44, for 'purporting to grant an award that could be taken to confer the title of doctorate'. At Wimbourne magistrates' court in Dorset yesterday he was fined [pounds sterling]1,000 with costs of [pounds sterling]175 and told to pay Mrs Harris [pounds sterling]750.

'I think he should have got a bigger fine, I hate him,' said the mother of three.

'I'm very angry about wasting all those years of hard study. All I have is a piece of paper that's not worth a thing.' The court was told that August's college had gone through various identities since Mrs Harris began studying on a correspondence course. …