The Mayor of Ripon had a gambling habit when he pocketed £220 of takings from an ice cream van during his community’s celebrations of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, a court has heard.
Prosecutors said yesterday that Andrew Williams depended on loans from pay day lenders to tide him over while serving as the city’s civic head at the time of the alleged fraud in June 2012.
A jury at York Crown Court was told Williams had put on a suit and his gold chain of office to hand out prizes on the evening of Ripon’s Jubilee festivities.
In return for being allowed to sell ice creams at the event John Taylor, of Harrogate-based C & M Ices, agreed with council bosses to hand over between 20 and 25 per cent of the day’s takings. When he cashed up, he reckoned he owed about £220, said David McGonigal, prosecuting.
Mr Taylor spotted a local councillor Stuart Martin and tried to give the money to him in a bag. But he refused to take it and pointed out Williams, 43, who was nearby, Mr McGonigal said.
He added: “The defendant was wearing his gold chain of office around his neck and was therefore easily identifiable. Mr Martin pointed to Mr Williams and suggested Mr Taylor give him the money. Mr Taylor walked across to Mr Williams and gave him the money. That’s the prosecution case. Mr Williams’s case is he never received the money - that he never received it at all.”
The court heard that if Williams did receive the money he had a duty to pass it to Ruth Terry, who was responsible for banking it for the council, but that no money was received.
Mr McGonigal said Williams, the chief executive of a divorce law firm, “kept the money for his own purposes”, and when interviewed by police said he was under financial pressure partly because his partner was pregnant and had stopped working.
Williams, of Pine View, Locker Lane, Ripon, denies one offence of fraud. The trial continues.