England

Cambridge student must sell home over mother's debt

A 21-year-old Cambridge University student has been stripped of his home gifted to him by his mother, in order to pay off her criminal debts.

Brenda Ford-Sagers, 67, of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, and her financial advisor husband Robert were jailed in 2004 for five counts of theft.

She faced a £72,000 confiscation order in the same year but has paid just £500, the High Court heard.

Judge Milwyn Jarman QC ruled Theodore must give up his Isle of Harris home.

The High Court heard he used The Old School House - estimated to be worth up to £100,000 - as his main residence outside term time.

His mother gave him the home in 1996, when he was a young boy, by which time she and her husband had already fallen into crime.

'Driving force'

From 1995, they began plundering more than £100,000 from the estate of Roderick Walter, father of actress Harriet, in order to fund the renovation of Eilan Glas Lighthouse, on Scalpay in the Outer Hebrides.

They admitted the charges at Southampton Crown Court and later had their sentences cut to two years on appeal.

The High Court heard Mrs Ford-Sagers - the "driving force" behind the thefts - had not proposed alternative means of paying the confiscation order.

Rupert Jones, for the CPS, said: "If it is a gift made after the commission of the earliest offence, whether or not the gift itself represents the proceeds of crime is wholly irrelevant.

"Mrs Ford-Sagers and her son have actively refused to market and sell the property.

"The victim of the crime remains unpaid as the compensation order was to be paid from the confiscation order."

Judge Jarman said: "I have come to the conclusion that I ought to exercise my discretion and make a receivership order.

"On all the evidence before me I am quite satisfied that this transaction was a gift."

An enforcement receiver will inspect and value the property before it goes on the market.

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