Wales

Julian Emms stole son Michael's charity cash, jury told

Julian Emms
Image caption Julian Emms denies stealing £16,500 from the fund set up to help his late son Michael have stem cell treatment abroad

A businessman is accused of stealing £16,500 from a trust fund set up to pay for his son to have stem cell treatment in China for motor neurone disease.

Cardiff Crown Court heard people raised £55,000 in sponsored runs after Julian Emms, 46, of Caerwent, Monmouthshire, established a charity for son Michael.

A blank cheque he obtained to take him on a £3,000 trip to New York was cashed for the larger amount, the jury heard.

Mr Emms denies fraud. The trial continues.

The jury was told on Tuesday that Michael Emms was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, a degenerative neurological condition, while in his teens.

The fundraising allowed him to go abroad for stem cell treatment but this failed.

After this, the jury was told, Mr Emms told his family he wanted £3,000 to fulfil Michael's dream of visiting New York.

He approached Michael's grandmother, Anne Brandon, one of the four people authorised to sign the charity's cheques, the court heard.

Meirion Davies, prosecuting, said: "Emms said he was booking a holiday to the USA for Michael and needed two cheques.

"One was for £3,000 for the holiday and the other was £300 for insurance.

"Mrs Brandon wrote the cheques out to a travel agency called Travelcare and signed them - but left them blank because Emms didn't know the exact amounts."

Bio diesel processor

But Mrs Brandon and her husband David changed their minds and asked Mr Emms to return the cheques, Mr Davies said.

He said: "Emms went to their home and burned the cheques in front of them in a way which was deliberately theatrical.

"But one of them was in fact a blank piece of paper."

The court was told the defendant already cashed the other cheque for £16,500 after changing the payee to "cash".

Mr Emms was buying a £30,000 bio diesel processor at the time the cheque was cashed, the court was told.

The trial continues. Mr Emms denies fraud.

Michael Emms died in 2011, aged in his mid 20s.