Jailed bank manager found job at crown court

A FORMER Suffolk bank manager jailed for four years after plundering around �300,000 from customers’ accounts has been working at Norwich Crown Court while serving his sentence, it has been revealed.

Jason Benham was sent to an open prison shortly after being sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court in April.

A short while after arriving at the jail was allowed to leave the prison to work at the court.

It is not known what he did at the court, but sources said the arrangement was on a part-time basis.

Benham, 37, of Thetford, was imprisoned after admitting fraud and deception.

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The father-of-three was manager of a Lloyds TSB branch in Mildenhall at the time of his arrest, but had also worked in the Lakenheath branch.

He had siphoned money from the accounts of 48 customers - including relatives - over nearly four years.

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One of his victims was an 84-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease, while another could not read or write.

Benham also raided �43,000 from the account of his aunt, Megan Reeve, and stole �16,000 from his brother-in-law Gary Rogers.

One couple who invited him to their wedding reception even had to consider bankruptcy.

It is understood Benham no longer works at Norwich Crown Court and has not done so for a number of weeks.

The Prison Service refused to confirm or deny Benham had been found employment there.

A spokesman said: “We do not comment on individual prisoners. Prisoners may be released on temporary licence providing they meet strict criteria and pass a rigorous risk assessment. Only those assessed as representing minimal risk of escape or risk of harm to the public are eligible.

“If prisoners breach their licence in any way, they will be subject to disciplinary proceedings and are likely to be moved to closed conditions.

“Release on temporary licence is used to prepare prisoners for their eventual release from custody. It helps to reduce the chance or re-offending by setting up appropriate employment and rehabilitation work in the community, and maintaining family contact.

“This is essential for successful resettlement and an important factor in protecting the public.”

Benham is facing a Proceeds of Crime hearing at Ipswich Crown Court on October 25 as prosecutors seek to claw back any benefit he made from his crimes.

At a preliminary hearing on September 13 Judge Peter Thompson commented on the fact that Benham appeared to have been released from his sentence.

However, Benham’s counsel Jonathan Goodman told the judge Benham was in an open prison and had made his own way to court.

During his sentencing in April it was said Benham had felt under pressure to achieve bonus targets at work and was in debt, although he did not have a lavish lifestyle.

On that occasion Mr Goodman, described his client as “essentially a broken man.”

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