Page last updated at 12:40 GMT, Tuesday, 21 October 2008 13:40 UK

Jury out in college fraud trial

Michael and Angela Smallman

The jury in the trial of three men accused of conning 80,000 students as part of a 16m bogus college fraud has been sent out to consider its verdict.

The National Distance Learning College (NDLC) in Middlesbrough, collapsed after three years, in November 2001.

Only 18 students gained a recognised qualification from the body during that time, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Michael Smallman, 45, Peter Kenyon, 43, and John Hornsby, 59, all deny charges of fraudulent trading.

Mr Smallman and his wife, Angela, 41, of Northallerton, North Yorkshire, also deny money-laundering.

Diverting funds

The NDLC was a long-distance educational establishment for computer and business-related courses.

Mr Smallman, of Leeming Lane, was the founder, while Mr Kenyon, of Roseberry Road, Great Ayton, North Yorkshire, and Mr Hornsby, of East Close, Sadberge, Darlington, were directors.

They deny accusations that they defrauded students by diverting funds and pretended that courses were accredited and would lead to recognised qualifications.

Judge George Moorhouse concluded his summing up on Tuesday after a four-month trial and instructed the jury to retire.


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