North East Wales

Wrexham head cleared of fraud over 'Christmas gifts'

Mold Crown Court

A head teacher accused of using school funds to lease laptops and give them as Christmas presents has been cleared of fraud.

The jury found Nicholas Hankin, 54, from Rhôs-on-Sea, innocent of two charges of fraud in a position of trust while head of two Wrexham area schools.

Judge Niclas Parry said he could leave Mold Crown Court with his "good character" intact.

Afterwards, Mr Hankin said he felt he had been the victim of a witch hunt.

He said he would be seeking a tribunal hearing against Wrexham council, who suspended him when it was alleged he had used school money to lease two Apple Mac laptops as Christmas presents for his partner and son while headmaster at Ysgol Gwenfro in Wrexham.

He was accused of the same thing while at his previous school Ysgol Tanyfron in Brymbo.

Prosecutor John Philpotts argued he defrauded the two primary schools by abusing his responsible position as head to buy equipment for personal use in 2014 and 2015.

Mr Hankin said the laptops were for work purposes and he believed he was operating within a £15,000 credit limit.

Duncan Bould, defending, said that his client had been fully transparent when leasing the laptops.

After the trial Mr Hankin said: "Really, I feel that this has been a witch hunt for two years.

"It has destroyed my life. It has caused me psychological problems and it has caused myself, my partner, my ex-wife and my child a lot of distress.

"I loved teaching. But I have not been near a school in two years. I was not able to do the job I had the ability to do."

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