Tragic dad is sentenced for theft of more than £50,000

By Gazette Reporters

A HORNSEA man has appeared in court to be sentenced for the theft of more than £50,000 from a family business. 

Richard Fell, 48, appeared at Hull Crown Court on Monday, July 6, and was given a 14 months sentence suspended for 18 months with 10 hours rehabilitation and 200 hours unpaid work. A total of £51,186.37 was taken from the family business with 28 ‘dishonest transactions’ between October 5, 2016 and May 26, 2018.

Fell, who had pleaded guilty to one count of theft by employee, had been due to appear to be sentenced by Judge Paul Watson in January, but the hearing was adjourned for six months on the grounds Fell would attempt to repay the money he had taken, and turn his life round in the right direction. 

It has been reported at Monday’s sentencing Judge Nadim acknowledged at the time of the offences the defendant had been ‘travelling through difficult times,’ following the loss of his 15-year-old son, who died suddenly in 2011. 

The judge said this damaged him and contributed to the poor judgement in the decisions he made during this period when the money was taken. The judge acknowledged it was ‘pleasing’ Fell had taken steps to ‘raise and repay money.’ 

Stephen Robinson, mitigating, said Fell had managed to save money and it was also revealed that Fell had sold his house in order to raise funds, with the £38,500 raised from the proceeds of the sale going towards the money which had been stolen. 

Following the loss of his son, Fell campaigned for years to raise money for the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) to provide heart screenings for young people in memory of his son, Josh. 

The charges against him do not relate to his efforts in promoting the charity but he has continued promoting their work. 

Richard Fell’s wife Donna told The Gazette: “Rich is very sorry for what he has done and we have sold the house to pay the money back. As in the judges sentencing it was recognised by the judge that due to his PTSD and severe depression which was diagnosed from losing Josh it led to this out of character self-destructive behaviour, as it was in January when it was deferred due to the extraordinary circumstances. The charity was never at risk and we will continue to raise awareness and provide the screenings in memory of Josh. There is a lot more to this. 

“Rich never grieved, he threw himself into fundraising to help others. This led to the destructive behaviour which was verified by the GP and councillor. Like I said he is very sorry. I only found out when he was suspended.” 

A statement from Brian Fell, Leven Ltd, where Fell worked said: “Following the tragic death of Richard’s son in June 2011, the company has always supported Richard and his family throughout their fundraising for the CRY Charity. It wasn’t until late 2015, when Richard became a Director, that he started to abuse his position by making false transactions, deceiving clients as well as accepting cash and goods as payment. 

“We feel saddened as a company that Richard has used the death of Josh as a reason for his deception. His actions put his family’s company as well as the jobs of his work colleagues in jeopardy. The company is still rectifying the damage of what Richard has done to the family business, started by his Dad in 1966.”