Headmaster Jailed For Stealing To Play Online Poker

This story was published more than 12 years ago.

A 41 year old school headmaster has been put in jail for 16 months after he stole £53,000 from his school to play internet poker.

The Mold Crown Court in Chester sentenced the man after Andrew Thomas Wilkie admitted to two theft charges and asked that eight other similar charges be taken into consideration. Wilkie stole the funds from the school he worked at for 17 years, lifting money that was meant to extend the school hall.

According to Wilkie's lawyers, he began playing internet poker after he was suspended from his job following a sexual complaint against him by a student. He testified that he became depressed and internet poker was a way to cope. Court documents show that in addition to the money he stole, Wilkie also lost the family's £90,000 savings and an additional £70,000 he obtained by secretly re-mortgaging his home.

During the sentencing hearing, Judge Merfyn Hughes QC said that the case was sad but serious. In contemplating the defendant's sentence, the judge said he took into account the personal losses Wilkie has experienced as well as the destruction of Wilkie's career and reputation.

An investigation will now look into the case under the Proceeds of Crime Act to see how much money can be retrieved.