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Wembley's Copland six to face fraud trial next year
A knighted headteacher and his five former colleagues will stand trial next year accused of a £2.7million fraud at a Wembley school.
Sir Alan Davies, 65, the former headteacher of Copland Community School in Cecil Avenue, is accused with conspiring with five ex-colleagues to defraud Brent Council by paying out bonuses improperly in a six-year scam.
All six appeared at Southwark Crown Court yesterday, speaking only to confirm their names, and the date for a trial expected to last three months was set for September 2013.
Sir Alan, of Grants Close, Mill Hill, is accused of conspiring to defraud the council with former deputy head Richard Evans, 55, former chairman of governors Indravadan Patel, 73, former bursar Columbus Udokoro, 61, former human resources manager Michele McKenzie, 53, and former vice-chairman of governors Martin Day, 53.
He also faces charges of money laundering, conspiracy to commit false accounting and fraud by abuse of position.
None of the six have yet entered any plea to the charges that that a long-running fraud was carried out between April 2003 and June 2009 where improper bonuses were paid out, with Sir Alan allegedly receiving nearly £1million in payments on top of his salary.
Patel, of Stanmore, Udokoro, of Greenford, and McKenzie, of Ruislip, are accused of conspiracy to defraud and of falsifying documents for accounting purposes, while Day, from Halstead, Essex, faces one count of conspiracy to defraud.
The claims were brought to light when former geography teacher Hank Roberts produced two dossiers of evidence which formed the basis of a Brent Council investigation into the alleged fraud three years ago.
The probe resulted in Sir Alan, Udokoro, and McKenzie resigning following internal disciplinary charges of gross misconduct, while Evans was sacked months later.
Both Sir Alan, who allegedly employed his sister, son and son-in-law, and Evans, who allegedly employed his wife and mother, have been honoured for their work in the state education system with Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron all visiting their former school, while Evans acted as an education advisor to Mr Cameron.