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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 September 2006, 11:27 GMT 12:27 UK
Lighthouse fraud battle continues
Hebridean island
Mrs Ford-Sagers fell in love with the island
A woman jailed with her husband for stealing more than 100,000 through a fake charity has won a partial victory in an appeal court confiscation fight.

Brenda and Robert Ford-Sagers, both 62, stole the money to fund their dream of owning and renovating a lighthouse on the remote Scottish Isle of Scalpay.

They were sentenced to three years in 2004 at Southampton Crown Court but this was reduced to two on appeal.

On Friday, judges in London reduced the amount to be confiscated by about 923.

At the trial in April 2004, the couple, who are now free, admitted five charges of theft.

Those sentences were cut on appeal to two years at London's Criminal Appeal Court in October the same year.

Fake charity

Mrs Ford-Sagers was back at the Appeal Court on Friday fighting a confiscation order which, if unpaid, could see her face another two-year sentence.

In the original case, the court heard how in 1996 Mrs Ford-Sagers, of Mottisfont, Hampshire, had set up a fake charity called the Friends of Eilean Glas Trust with the Charity Commission.

Between 1995 and 1997 Mr Ford-Sagers stole 82,545 and Mrs Ford-Sagers 48,245 to help cover mortgage repayments on the Eilean Glas Lighthouse - which they bought in 1984 - and fund a lifestyle beyond their means.

The couple also used the cash to buy shares and premium bonds and pay public school fees for their son Theodore.

A confiscation of 72,922.56 was also imposed, as well as two years' imprisonment in default of payment.

The couple's assets were assessed at 147,000, being the worth of the lighthouse, another property called Kiles Scalpay School House on the nearby Isle of Harris and a camper van.

Map showing Harris and Scalpay

On Friday, Mrs Ford-Sagers addressed Mr Justice Leveson, sitting with Judge Warwick McKinnon and Lord Justice Moses, in a bid to avoid another two years behind bars.

She claimed the two houses should not have been taken into account when calculating the assets.

She said her right to the lighthouse has been taken away under Scottish law and the School House, which she has transferred to her son's name, is now "effectively worthless" after being struck by a hurricane.

The judges allowed part of the appeal, acceding to her request that the lighthouse should not be taken into account and reduced the confiscation order by 922.56 to 72,000, the value of the School House and the van.

They said she should go back to the Crown Court to fight her case over the School House issue.

Judge McKinnon said: "This property should not have been taken into account when defining the sum of the applicant's realisable assets."


SEE ALSO
Lighthouse couple's sentences cut
26 Oct 04 |  Hampshire
Couple jailed for lighthouse scam
30 Apr 04 |  Hampshire/Dorset

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