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'Despicable' thief Nicholas Mckee stole £22k from Newmarket-based charity Racing Welfare

Nicholas Mckee, 37, of The Street, Kirtling (11050088)
Nicholas Mckee, 37, of The Street, Kirtling (11050088)

An accounts assistant who stole nearly £23,000 from the Newmarket-based charity, Racing Welfare, had a previous conviction for theft.

Thirty-seven-year-old Nicholas Mckee, of The Street, Kirtling, was jailed for three years at Ipswich Crown Court on Thursday after he admitted theft, over a 21-month period between March 2016 and December 2017, of £22,780.41.

After the hearing, Racing Welfare revealed that, as part of the prosecution process it discovered Mckee was a convicted thief but, because that conviction was spent, it did not show up during the standard check when no unspent convictions were revealed, so the charity had no way of knowing about it.

“Standard and enhanced disclosure would have revealed a spent conviction,” said the chairty’s spokesman Felicity Marshall, “however Mckee was ineligible for either of these as he was not in a position where he would be in direct, unsupervised contact with young people and vulnerable adults.”

The charity has since reviewed all its financial processes and the Charity Commission has confirmed it has done everything it can to prevent a repeat of the situation.

Ipswich Crown Court heard McKee had a computer company, Newmarket Computer Services, and was sub-contracted three days a week to provide computer services to thecharity. Suspicions were aroused in December 2017 when a supplier contacted the charity to see why an invoice hadn’t been paid.

Judge Rupert Overbury described the thefts as ‘mean and despicable’ and said McKee had deprived the charity of money used to help vulnerable people employed in the horse racing industry.He read out an impact statement from the charity in which it gave details of what the money could have been spent on.

This included 570 physiotherapy sessions, 456 mental health counselling sessions, three places on a two-week rehabilitation course, 15 mobility scooters, 28 holiday places for vulnerable and elderly people, 22 housing deposits to avoid people becoming homeless or 300 weeks of emergency food aid.