Tuesday, 2 March 2010

University Thieves Jailed

By Ben Aulakh

Two former university contractors who stole £6 million from Birmingham University were sentenced to a total of eight years at the city’s Crown Court on Friday 22 January.

Paul Sadler, 50, a gambling addict from Worcestershire, and 51-year-old Christine Eggleton from Northfield, were employees of Birmingham Research and Development Limited (BRDL).

The company worked with the university in commercialising academic research; Mr Sadler, the former chief executive of BRDL and Miss Eggleton, the firms bookkeeper, were charged with conspiracy to defraud

Mr Sadler was charged with one count of theft between 1995 and 1998 and one count of theft between 1998 and 2007, while Miss Egleton was charged with one count of theft between 1998 and 2007.

Detective Sergeant Padraig Gillece from West Midlands Police said: "With such high sums of money involved it is inconceivable that both did not realise they would jeopardise the services the University offers and the very existence of their colleagues' jobs.

"Prompt action by the University led to the recovery of some of the stolen funds, the two were both well paid individuals in responsible positions who will now be able to reflect upon how much they have lost through their greed".

On sentencing, the Court was told that Sadler, already well paid, lived a lavish lifestyle with the proceeds of his crime including owning a second property in Moseley.

The Court was also told that Mr Sadler’s addiction meant it would not be unusual for him to gamble as much as £40, 000 a night in casino’s and on horse racing.

Miss Eggleton on the other hand appeared to have invested the proceeds she received on property in Solihull and Burnham on Sea.

BRDL ceased trading in May 2008 as a result of this fraud, which was uncovered in 2007.

A spokesperson for the University of Birmingham said : “We welcome the news of these sentences, arising as a result of a calculated fraud by two former employees of Birmingham Research and Development Limited (BRDL).

“We are also relieved that this long and difficult process has finally come to its conclusion and would like to thank West Midlands Police for their assistance in bringing the perpetrators to justice.”

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