Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Shamed Charity Boss Is Jailed for PS90,000 Spree on Hospice Credit Card

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Shamed Charity Boss Is Jailed for PS90,000 Spree on Hospice Credit Card

Article excerpt

Byline: TOM WILKINSON Reporter

ANORTH East hospice boss who used the charity's credit to spend more than PS90,000 on suits, designer Mont Blanc pens and luxury hotels has been jailed for four years.

Graham Leggatt-Chidgey, 63, would not allow other staff at Butterwick Hospice to open the credit card bills and put the personal expenditure down as travel, Teesside Crown Court.

His dishonesty has cost the popular North East-based charity, which runs centres in Stockton, Bishop Auckland and Weardale, PS100,000 in lost donations after news of his arrest led to public anger about the fraud and hostility towards fundraisers.

The PS68,000-a-year boss was jailed after admitting abusing his position as chief executive of Butterwick Hospice by using its credit card for his personal expenditure over nearly eight years.

Christopher Baker, prosecuting, said other employees' concerns were raised in 2016 when the chief executive appeared to be struggling with his workload.

Investigations revealed that spending had been going up while income was going down, and inquiries were made about Leggatt-Chidgey's credit card use after he was seen using it to buy expensive rounds of drinks at events, including cocktails and champagne.

He was suspended in March 2017 and sacked for gross misconduct the following month.

Further inquiries dating as far back as the bank records went showed he had spent more than PS90,000 on things unrelated to the hospice.

He used it to spend more than PS30,000 on hotels and restaurants, including a PS2,284 trip around his wedding anniversary to the five star Glenapp Castle Hotel in Ayrshire, and PS3,739 on trips to the Cambridge Hilton, close to the home of a family member.

More than PS20,000 was spent on train and travel costs, and another PS24,000 on computers and software.

He spent PS18,000 on clothing, jewellery and watches, and more than PS4,000 on Mont Blanc pens, leather goods, watches or accessories and a further PS2,187 in The Pen Shop.

The court heard he spent PS7,349 in the Charles Tyrwhitt store on shirts, suits, ties and accessories. …

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