Page last updated at 13:04 GMT, Monday, 7 April 2008 14:04 UK

Solicitor guilty of fraud jailed

Thomas McGoldrick (Pic: GMP)
Thomas McGoldrick ran practices in Altrincham and Croydon

A solicitor who stole more than 1m from a disabled client has been jailed for 10 years at Machester Crown Court.

Thomas McGoldrick, 59, of Faulkners Lane, Mobberley, Cheshire, lived a life of "extravagance" while taking the money from client Keith Anderson.

Mr Anderson, 45, from Croydon, had been awarded 1.8m after he was severely injured in a road crash.

Belfast-born McGoldrick was convicted of 59 counts of fraud in February and was sentenced on Monday.

He was 1.4m in debt when his firm, who had practices called McGoldricks in Altrincham, Greater Manchester and Croydon, took on Mr Anderson's case.

The Jamaican van driver was left paralysed from the chest down and quadriplegic after the accident in November 1996.

McGoldrick abused his position as a solicitor

McGoldrick's firm won the claim for damages - and McGoldrick went on to take about 1.2m of the cash.

He forged a letter allegedly from his client "gifting" him half the money.

McGoldrick went on to spend 15,000 on a new kitchen and 1,600 on a children's garden climbing frame.

He also paid to send his children to private school, took foreign holidays, drove luxury cars and lived in a large house in Cheshire.

During his trial, Manchester Crown Court heard that Mr Anderson called the firm in 2004 to be told by another solicitor that his cash had gone.

The crash which left Mr Anderson paralysed
Mr Anderson was awarded 1.8m following the crash

Speaking after his sentencing, a Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) spokesman said: "McGoldrick abused his position as a solicitor to embezzle funds belonging to the clients of his firm and using the funds for his own gain.

"The bulk of the award was not paid to the victim and McGoldrick did not account for the total funds received on behalf of his client.

"Instead he drew funds from the client account and utilised them for his own purpose

"The CPS is pleased that McGoldrick has finally been punished for his actions."

Det Con Michael Field said police were happy with the sentence.

"It sends out the right message to anybody else, any other wrongdoers thinking of taking advantage of people in Keith's position," he said.

"It's a good sentence and I'm very pleased with it and so is Keith."

video and audio news
Thomas McGoldrick kept most of his client's compensation award

Solicitor guilty of 1.2m fraud
22 Feb 08 |  Manchester
Prosecutor attacks 'bent' lawyer
14 Feb 08 |  Manchester
Lawyer claims 900,000 was 'gift'
13 Feb 08 |  Manchester
Lawyer 'stole' crash man's cash
17 Jan 08 |  Manchester
Solicitor on compensation charges
08 May 06 |  Manchester
Lawyer charged in account inquiry
04 May 06 |  Manchester

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