Fraud investigator gives evidence at trial of former UDM chiefs

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A FRAUD investigator has given evidence in the trial of two men accused of stealing almost £150,000 from a charity that ran a care home for sick and elderly miners.

Former president of the Union of Democratic Mineworkers (UDM) Neil Greatrex and the union’s ex-general secretary Mick Stevens, both 60, are accused of 14 counts of theft between June 2000 and May 2006.

Greatrex, of Shepherds Lane, Sutton, and Stevens of Maylodge Drive, Rufford Park, owned a care home in Chapel St Leonards, which provided residential and nursing care for miners and their dependants.

Today, Stephen Ellis, a retired police officer and designated fraud investigator, told Nottingham Crown Court that, on a visit to John Minkley and Sons, he found thousands of pounds of invoices for work done on the homes of both Greatrex and Stevens.

These included work done in 2002 and 2003 on Steven’s house in Edwinstowe and around £50,000 worth of building work done on his home at Rufford Park including roof repairs and skip hire.

Other invoices revealed £16,900 worth of building repairs to Greatrex’s home on Shepherds Lane, Teversal.

“I am satisfied I recovered every invoice for work done on the premises of the two gentlemen, they could be tied to them because of the name, job number and address,” said Mr Ellis, who has been involved in the investigation since 2005.

It was also revealed that Greatrex was interviewed by Mr Ellis in London in 2010 where he insisted that the Phoenix Nursing and Residential Home Ltd was a stand alone company and not a subsidiary of Nottinghamshire Miners Home Charity.

“Phoenix is a company in its own right, I think everybody in the organisation understood it to be a separate company,” said Greatrex.

Greatrex denied that he had told John Minkley and Sons and Stephen Giles, of SPG Construction, what to write on the invoices, but admitted that he had a new kitchen fitted at his house in Kirkby by Royal Cuisines and used the Phoenix account to pay for the job.

He was asked why it stated ‘industrial kitchen’ on the Royal Cuisines invoice but said he didn’t think there was a difference between a domestic kitchen and an industrial one.

“I was entitled to a salary from Phoenix but instead of accepting a salary I had my kitchen done,” he said.

He said that he did not take a salary for several years from Phoenix but eventually agreed a wage of between £6,000 and £10,000 a year with Stevens.

“I honestly believe that Phoenix was a stand alone company and I was perfectly entitled to do what I did,” added Greatrex.

The trial continues.