British army officer ‘couldn’t afford school fees even on his £120,000 salary’ 

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Probably the most senior Military officer to face a courtroom martial in additional than 200 years moaned he could not afford his youngsters’s faculty charges even on his ‘lofty wage’, a courtroom martial in the present day heard.

Main Normal Nick Welch, 57, expressed his concern over shedding the taxpayer-funded training allowance when he took on the highest job at MoD headquarters.

The 2-star common, whereas searching for recommendation from a colleague, mentioned ‘I am unable to afford personal faculty charges’ with out assist from the general public purse.

A navy courtroom has heard Maj Gen Welch ‘dishonestly’ advised the Military his spouse Charlotte can be dwelling with him at his new London residence, which meant he might declare taxpayers’ cash for 2 of his youngsters to board in Dorset.

In actual fact, 54-year-old Mrs Welch spent most of her time at their £800,000 nation dwelling in Blandford Discussion board close to the faculties, prosecutors say.

Major General Nick Welch (pictured) expressed his concern over losing the taxpayer-funded education allowance when he took on the top job at MoD headquarters

Main Normal Nick Welch (pictured) expressed his concern over shedding the taxpayer-funded training allowance when he took on the highest job at MoD headquarters

Maj Gen Welch, who has an OBE, allegedly swindled £48,388 from taxpayers by illegally claiming Continuity of Schooling Allowance (CEA) for 15 months. He denies one rely of fraud.

Now, Bulford Army Court docket, Wilts, has heard Mrs Welch solely spent round one in three days on the new residence in Putney, London.

Prosecutor Sarah Clarke QC mentioned that of the 15-month interval wherein Maj Gen Welch claimed his spouse was dwelling in Putney, she spent 355 days absent from the house, 278 days together with her husband’s depart.

Earlier than Maj Gen Welch was appointed Assistant Chief of the Normal Workers of the MoD in London, a task wherein he turned the best rating officer on the HQ, his household had been dwelling in Gloucestershire, claiming CEA.

However, when he bought the ‘superb job’ which is believed to return with a £120,000 wage, Maj Gen Welch sought CEA recommendation from a fellow Military officer, admitting he was at a ‘kind of cross roads’.

In an e-mail, he mentioned: ‘It throws my home preparations into disarray. If I am to retain CEA Charlotte must include me to London… If Charlotte strikes to Dorset then we lose CEA.

‘Even with a lofty Main Normal wage I am unable to afford personal faculty charges for [one of his children] so would wish a discount in that.’

Maj Gen Welch was additionally involved over relocating his youngest baby to London as it could have been their fifth faculty in 14 months.

Maj Gen Welch and his spouse ended up sending the kid to the £22,500 a yr Hanford College in Dorset to provide them a possibility to settle. Their different baby went to the £37,000-a-year Clayesmore College in Iwerne Minster, Dorset.

Maj Gen Welch (pictured) sought CEA advice from a fellow Army officer

Maj Gen Welch (pictured) sought CEA recommendation from a fellow Military officer

It was additionally heard when Maj Gen Welch first purchased the Putney property, his spouse mentioned in a message to a good friend: ‘I am attempting to be courageous about transferring however not doing brilliantly… You’re an angel, I miss you heaps.’

Ms Clarke QC mentioned investigation into Mrs Welch’s whereabouts present her telephone data, bank card purchases and Amazon deliveries put her as being at their Blandford dwelling more often than not.

The prosecutor additionally learn to the panel a list of messages, texts, emails and diary appointments all through the 15-month interval which she mentioned proves the household dwelling was not Putney.

In a single message to a possible cleaner for his or her Dorset dwelling, Mrs Welch mentioned: ‘We dwell in [the Blandford home]. We’re not in the home on a regular basis as a result of my husband’s within the Military and we’ve got an Military home the place he works.’

Various exchanges between Maj Gen Welch and his spouse had been additionally learn out, with Ms Clarke QC mentioning that he was in London whereas Mrs Welch was in Dorset.

In a single message, he mentioned he’s sat in a pub ‘simply wishing I had you reverse me to ogle at’.

One other learn: ‘Morning beautiful. I suppose you might be sat up ready for the workmen, I am sat at Clapham Junction ready for a practice to Andover. Oh, the excessive life. Lacking you.’

Ms Clarke QC mentioned: ‘This couple did appear shut and keen on each-other. He’s clearly in London working for the household and she or he is in Dorset.

‘This was not a pair preferring it that approach. Might it actually be that she was someplace he did not know? No, it couldn’t be that approach.’

Continuity of Schooling Allowance is obtainable to troopers to assist fund 90 per cent of their kid’s training once they relocate on project, so long as their spouses dwell with them, a observe referred to as ‘serving accompanied’.

Ms Clarke QC beforehand mentioned: ‘The whereabouts of Welch’s spouse are an important piece of proof.

Prosecutor Sarah Clarke QC (pictured) said that of the 15-month period in which Maj Gen Welch claimed his wife was living in Putney, she spent 355 days absent from the home, 278 days including her husband's leave

Prosecutor Sarah Clarke QC (pictured) mentioned that of the 15-month interval wherein Maj Gen Welch claimed his spouse was dwelling in Putney, she spent 355 days absent from the house, 278 days together with her husband’s depart

‘If she is meant to be dwelling with him in London however spending extra time elsewhere than that, the prosecution submits, which means Welch was not serving accompanied.

‘Very hardly ever had been they in London, it was not getting used because the household dwelling.

‘It was in reality a handy second property – and that is very good, however that is not what CEA is about and if that was the case then Welch was not entitled to CEA.

‘He had an obligation to tell of any threat that his household was failing to fulfill the CEA guidelines.

‘The explanation it by no means occurred is as a result of he dishonestly wished to proceed to maintain the privilege of getting his two youngsters in personal training however didn’t need his household to dwell within the dwelling at London however as a substitute the household dwelling in Blandford, which is clearly the place they wished to be.’

Maj Gen Welch, whose transfer to Putney was his ‘twentieth Military transfer’, retired from the navy in 2019 and have become Chief Working Officer of Bournemouth Arts College, Dorset.

He’s the the best rating officer to face courtroom martial since Lieutenant Normal Sir John Murray was convicted of abandoning his siege weapons with out due trigger within the Napoleonic wars in 1815.

The trial continues. 



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