Belfast Telegraph

Lying music teacher defrauded children using fake piano exams

BY PAUL HIGGINS

A music teacher who put children through fake piano exams has admitted 16 charges of fraud.

Claire Thompson (25) was at Lisburn Magistrates Court yesterday to face the angry parents of her victims who sat in the public gallery.

However, the young woman was not put into the dock or summonsed to the courtroom, and instead left her defence lawyer Peter Coiley to tell the court his client was pleading guilty to all the charges she faced.

Thompson, from Hillsborough Old Road in Lisburn, pleaded guilty to 14 offences of fraud by false representation and two further counts of using a false instrument between January 1, 2010 and November 1, 2011.

No facts surrounding the case were opened in court yesterday, but from the particulars of the offences, it appears that Thompson put herself forward as being a registered music teacher with the London College of Music and, as such, entered six different girls for piano exams when it fact she was not registered at all, and kept the exams fees for herself.

The charges relating to Thompson using a "fake instrument" outline how she used two fake piano Grade Four certificates to dupe girls into believing they had passed that standard.

District Judge Rosemary Watters adjourned passing sentence until next month when pre-sentence probation reports have been compiled.

Thompson was present in the courthouse yesterday, but stayed away from the courtroom where her case was heard.

As Thompson rushed from the courthouse, she avoided eye contact with her victims' families.

She did not respond when one asked if she was "ashamed" of having children as victims of fraud.

FACTFILE

The London College of Music is a respected institution which has been operating in various forms continuously since 1887. It is the largest specialist music and performing arts institution in the UK.

The college is currently part of the University of West London and accredited internationally to offer graded and diploma qualifications.

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