Lincolnshire

X Factor singer Ella Henderson's father jailed

Sean Anderson and Ella
Image caption Sean Anderson was jailed for three-and-a-half years

The father of X-Factor singer Ella Henderson has been jailed for three-and-a-half years for being part of a £900,000 fraud.

Sean Henderson, 51, was involved in a scheme to convince investors to give money by promising returns of up to 20%, but the cash was never returned.

Judge Paul Watson said it was a "deliberate and pre-planned fraud".

Henderson, of Tetney, Lincolnshire, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to defraud.

He was convicted after a trial in May 2016 but sentencing was delayed while two further trials were held.

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Co-defendant Stephen Keegan was jailed for three years and nine months for his involvement in the same fraud at a previous hearing having pleaded guilty to the offence.

Henderson was also found guilty of tax evasion after failing to pay more than £26,000 in VAT, for which he was given an eight-month concurrent jail term.

Sheffield Crown Court heard Keegan and Henderson had tricked two people into investing approximately 500,000 Euros (£436,000) each between 2009 and 2010.

Image caption Ella Henderson came sixth in the X Factor and signed a record deal with Simon Cowell

Prosecuting, Christopher Moran said the duo claimed the money would be held in a secure account and used as leverage to convince banks to invest in a property development called Gin Pitt Village, in Manchester.

However, the money was taken out of the account and ploughed into a series of high-risk investments, including a gold transaction in Ghana.

The court heard the money represented 80% of one victim's life savings.

Judge Watson said: "The whole scheme, in my judgement, was a deliberate and pre-planned fraud designed to deprive naive victims of a substantial proportion of their life savings.

"To this date neither of them have recovered any of the money that has been lost."

Defending Henderson, Nicholas James said the frauds had not been designed to fund a lavish lifestyle and described the offences as "aberrations" and "out of character".

He said that since the investigations into his finances had begun Henderson had suffered with heart problems which would need monitoring in prison.

He said Henderson had been described by friends and relatives as "kind and generous" and spoke of the work he and his daughter had done with Comic Relief, Save the Children and the British Heart Foundation.

His daughter Ella came sixth in the ITV talent programme in 2012 and signed a record deal with Simon Cowell.

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