Premier League football player defrauded by life coach

Peter Odemwingie Image copyright AFP
Image caption Peter Odemwingie was defrauded out of £22,000 by Claire Duke's concierge service business

A lifestyle coach who defrauded Premier League footballer Peter Odemwingie and six other clients out of more than £80,000 has pledged to pay them back.

Claire Duke, 38, of London Colney in Hertfordshire, admitted seven frauds.

Stafford Crown Court heard how she had charged clients for holidays and flights but used the money for herself.

Stoke City striker Odemwingie was defrauded out of £22,000, the court heard. Duke was given a two-year year suspended prison sentence.

At the time of the frauds, Duke had run a business offering concierge services and organised holidays and trips abroad.

'Sincere apologies'

Recorder David Mason QC accepted that Duke's business had encountered difficulties and had not been set up or designed as a fraud from the outset.

Duke sobbed in the dock as the judge told her: "You appear to be someone who on the face of it is terrified of the court's powers, and accepting that what you have done was appalling.

"You have pleaded guilty to seven matters of fraud involving professional, hard-working people wanting to spend money on holidays and treats."

All the victims would no doubt be shocked and appalled that their money had been "shifted in different directions" by Duke, the judge said.

"Some of these people may have been wealthy, but that doesn't make any difference. It's their money."

As she left the court, Duke said she was deeply sorry for the stress and upset she had caused.

"I would just like to pass on my sincere apologies to everyone," she said.

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