Decorated head is cleared of £1m fraud conspiracy

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A DECORATED and “inspirational” former headteacher who was accused of a role in an alleged £1m fraud has been cleared of the offence – but convicted over false accounting.

Sir Alan Davies, who was knighted for his services to education, walked free from court after pleading guilty to creating a false paper trail on bonus payments and allowances.

Davies, who resigned from his £160,000-a-year post at the Copland School in Wembley, north London in October 2009, was handed a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years.

But he and five other defendants no longer face legal action over the more serious offence of conspiracy to defraud after prosecutors agreed to offer no further evidence. Davies also had a charge of money laundering dropped.

Speaking outside Southwark Crown Court after being sentenced, Davies said he had been vindicated of accusations that payments had been dishonest. His conviction related to paperwork completed retrospectively in support of payments of around £300,000 to which he was legally entitled.

Davies, of Grants Close, north west London, said: “In some instances I have felt that we were being tried by the media and there were a lot of misrepresentations made in the press, many of which were wholly unfounded.

“Allegations were made against me and others about the money we earned from our work at Copland.

“All these allegations have now been abandoned.

“I do, however, have to accept that I did not have all the necessary paperwork in place and I made a profound error of judgment by backdating eight documents.”

Prosecutor John Black QC said the six charges of false accounting to which Davies admitted related to payments made dating back to 2007, totalling £315,000, and including several bonuses for Davies himself.

Mr Black said: “Suspicions occurred because of alleged impropriety in bonus payments to staff at the school, over a period of many years.

Mr Black said there was no dishonesty in the making or receiving of the payments. The dishonesty relates to false paper trails in order to legitimise these payments.”

Conspiracy charges against five others have also been dropped, the court heard.