Former headteacher Wembley school accused of £2.7m bonus fraud walks free after admitting false accounting

Sir Alan Davies admitted false accounting

Sir Alan Davies admitted false accounting - Credit: Archant

The former headteacher of a secondary school in Wembley accused of a £2.7m bonus fraud has walked free from court after admitting false accounting.

Sir Alan Davies admitted false accounting

Sir Alan Davies admitted false accounting - Credit: Archant

Sir Alan Davies and five other ex-staff of Copland Community School in Cecil Avenue, were cleared of fraud charges at Southwark Crown Court today.

However Sir Davies, who resigned from his £160,000-a-year post in October 2009, was handed a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years.

He pleaded guilty to creating a false paper trail on bonus payments and allowances.

Sentencing the 66-year-old, Judge Deborah Taylor said: “You were in a position of trust at that school.

“Your dishonest behaviour represents a fall from grace.

“You have failed in your duty as head of the school - in failing to ensure proper, transparent management, and, more importantly, you lied about it and resorted to dishonest fabrication.

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“What sort of message did that send to the children?”

Davies, Dr Richard Evans, 55, former deputy head, Dr Indravadan Patel, 73, ex-chair of governors, Columbus Udokoro, 62, former school bursar, Michelle McKenzie, 53, ex- HR manager and Martin Day, 58, former-vice chair of governors, were all found not guilty of conspiracy to defraud Brent Council.

Prosecutor John Black QC said the six charges of false accounting to which Davies admitted related to payments made dating back to 2007, totalling £315,000, and including several bonuses for Davies himself.

The court heard Davies created retrospective paperwork to support the payments.

Mr Black said: “Suspicions occurred because of alleged impropriety in bonus payments to staff at the school, over a period of many years.

“As a result of (local authority) concerns about possible criminal offences, police were called in.”

Mr Black said there was no dishonesty in the making or receiving of the payments, money to which he said Davies was entitled.

“The dishonesty relates to false paper trails in order to legitimise these payments,” the prosecutor said.

“The Crown say they (paperwork backing up payments) were all generated at the same time, after Sir Alan Davies had become aware of the impending or likely scrutiny, to give the impression the right procedure was being adhered to.”

Davies was also cleared of laundering £270,000 which was transferred from a NatWest bank account into a Spanish account in May 2008.

William Clegg QC, defending Davies, said the offences - which referred to eight pay documents - needed to be taken in context.

He said: “This is not a case of documents being forged to permit payments to be made that were unlawful and not agreed or made dishonestly. The position is the opposite.

“The payments were honestly made and honestly received. This is not somebody seeking to obtain money he was not entitled to.”

Mr Clegg described how long-serving Davies was an “inspirational” teacher, who had transformed the Copland to take it “from the very bottom of the academic ladder to very near the top”.

He added: “Sir Alan Davies is one of the leading teachers of school children of his generation.”