Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Laxey couple stole from fund set up to enable attempt to break speed record

Ann McGrath and Paul Hodgson
Image caption Paul Hodgson (right) set four world land speed records in 2016

A couple who stole £18,000 from a fund set up to enable an attempt on breaking a land speed record have been jailed.

David Paul Hodgson, 46, and Ann Maria McGrath, 53, of Pinfold Hill in Laxey, were both found guilty following a 10-day trial in November 2018.

Between 2013 and 2014 the couple stole the money from the Lonan Gentlemen's Fellowship Supporters' Club (LGFSC), of which McGrath was treasurer.

Both she and Hodgson were sentenced at Douglas courthouse to 20 months.

The court heard that Hodgson was planning a record attempt at Bonneville Speed Week in 2014.

His efforts were supported by the club, which had been involved in breaking records two years previously.

After a £10,000 transfer was made to Hodgson's account, numerous withdrawals were made from the fund without the club committee's approval.

'Brazen and arrogant'

The money was spent on items including bike parts, flights and groceries.

The pair denied stealing the money from the club, which had raised funds through its supporters and sponsors.

In statement read out in court the LGFSC's vice chairman Christopher Procter said: "We are as much victims in this as the people who donated money."

He told the BBC: "The money came from the odd pound in a fundraising bucket to a sponsor giving us £6,000.

"What they did is mind blowing to be honest. No-one has won from this," he added.

Sentencing Hodgson and McGrath, Deemster Dermot Main-Thompson said they had "siphoned off money which had been raised for a noble cause and had treated it as their own."

He said the pair were "brazen and arrogant" in their conduct and had "not shown remorse."

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