‘Despicable’ thief can only repay £3k of £22k haul, court hears

Nicholas Mckee, who has been jailed at Ipswich Crown Court for three years for stealing £22,000 from

Nicholas Mckee, who has been jailed at Ipswich Crown Court for three years for stealing £22,000 from the Racing Welfare charity Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY - Credit: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

An accounts assistant at the Racing Welfare Charity who was jailed earlier this year for stealing more than £22,000 after he got into financial difficulties will only be able to repay £3,000 of the money, a court has heard.

Nicholas McKee, 37, of The Street, Kirtling, Newmarket, admitted theft by an employee over a 21-month period between March 2016 and December 2017 and was jailed for three years in May.

A Proceeds of Crime hearing at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday (November 4) heard that McKee's benefit from his offending was £22,780 and the available amount in his bank account was £3,120.

Simon Waters, prosecuting, requested that the £3,120 should be paid as compensation to the Racing Welfare Charity.

The hearing was adjourned until next week to allow McKee to attend court.

Sentencing McKee in May, Judge Rupert Overbury described the thefts as "mean and despicable" and said he had deprived the charity of money that should have been used to help vulnerable people employed in the horse racing industry.

The court heard that McKee began working for the charity in January 2016 and had been employed as an accounts assistant two days a week.

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McKee also had a computer company - Newmarket Computer Services - and he was sub-contracted three days a week to provide computer services to the Racing Welfare charity.

Suspicions were aroused in December 2017 when a supplier contacted the charity to see why an invoice hadn't been paid.

Although records showed the bill had been paid it was discovered a £2,410 payment had been made to McKee's Newmarket Computer Services company.

It was then discovered McKee had made other payments to himself, including a £1,440 payment in April 2017 and a £3,450 payment in November 2017.

When McKee was challenged about the payments, he said he had financial difficulties.

He said he deeply regretted his actions and had hoped to repay the money.

Mr Walters said that after the thefts were uncovered, McKee had continued his dishonesty by making a £130 payment using the charity's PayPal account.

McKee, who has a previous conviction for theft of £40 while working for a coffee shop, had agreed to repay the stolen £22,780 at £300 a month but had only made one repayment

The court heard that McKee had trained to be a jockey and had worked in the racing industry.

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