Tees

Ex hospice boss Graham Leggatt-Chidgey ordered to pay back £141k

Graham Leggatt-Chidgey Image copyright PA
Image caption Graham Leggatt-Chidgey was ordered to pay back £141,000 at a proceeds of crime hearing

The ex boss of a Teesside charity has been ordered to pay back £141,000 he used to fund a lavish lifestyle.

Graham Leggatt-Chidgey was jailed for four years, after spending £91,000 on luxury hotels and jewellery on Butterwick Hospice's credit card.

At a proceeds of crime hearing at Teesside Crown Court, he was ordered to pay £141,000 to the charity.

The 63-year-old, of Rokeby, near Barnard Castle, County Durham, pleaded guilty to fraud in 2018.

He was described at the hearing as a "skilled fraudster".

Speaking afterwards, Det Sgt Andrew Kin of Northumbria Police, said: "What he did was despicable. He let down people who raised money for this charity."

Wedding anniversary

The hearing heard that between 2009 to 2017, Leggatt-Chidgey spent more than £30,000 on hotels and restaurants including a £2,284 trip for his wedding anniversary to the five-star Glenapp Castle Hotel in Aryshire, and £3,739 on trips to the Cambridge Hilton.

He spent more than £20,000 on travel tickets and £18,000 on clothes and jewellery, as well as more than £4,000 on Mont Blanc pens.

The hospice, which has facilities in Stockton, Bishop Auckland and Weardale, and provides care to people of all ages with life-limiting illnesses, was set up by Mary Butterwick in 1984 with money from the sale of her house.

Chairwoman of the charity's trustees Judith Hunter contacted police with suspicions over Leggatt-Chidgey - who had worked for the charity for 21 years and had a £68,000 annual salary - in March 2017.

Inquiries had been made about his credit card use after he was seen using it to buy expensive rounds of drinks at events.

Image copyright Cleveland Police
Image caption A copy of a bill for more than £1,000 run up by Leggatt-Chidgey

Following his arrest, the hospice said its donations fell by about £100,000 and it said staff and volunteers had been verbally abused by members of the public.

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