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Motorbike shop manager avoids prison after he fleeced road race legend Phillip McCallen of thousands

Salesman stole £3,600 worth of parts and sold them on eBay

By Cate McCurry

Published 29/10/2016

William Williamson arrives at Craigavon Court yesterday
William Williamson arrives at Craigavon Court yesterday

A Co Down man who stole thousands of pounds from road racing legend Phillip McCallen while working as a manager at his motorcycle store has escaped a jail sentence.

William Robert Henry Williamson, a former salesman and senior manager at Phillip McCallen Motorcycles shop in Lisburn, admitted stealing over £3,600 while planning for his wedding.

The 32-year-old, of Milebush Manor in Dromore, submitted a series of false invoices and stole motorcycle parts which he sold on eBay under a fake account name.

Craigavon Crown Court heard that his fraudulent activities were uncovered after another staff member spotted him flogging the shop's stock on eBay.

Williamson - who arrived to court yesterday with a holdall - was handed a 12-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months.

He previously pleaded guilty to two fraud charges.

A prosecutor told the court that Williamson started working for Mr McCallen in June 2009 as a salesman.

In November 2013, the staff member told Mr McCallen that Williamson was selling motorcycle parts on eBay.

Mr McCallen checked the shop's stock and discovered a number of items were missing.

The 52-year-old racing legend compared the missing items to those that were being sold on the eBay account and found this reflected the results of the missing stock.

The court heard that Williamson sold eight of the items for significantly less than its retail value making some £2,653 for himself.

After Mr McCallen spent thousands of pounds installing CCTV in the shop, Williamson turned to other means to steal money.

He was later discovered to have altered invoices on the sale of two motorbikes amounting to hundreds of pounds.

The total loss to the business was £3,648. Williamson was interviewed by police four times over the offences during which he admitted altering the invoices but claimed it was a mistake.

When asked about the eBay account, he claimed he owned the items which he had bought and was selling on.

During yesterday's proceedings, Williamson sat in the dock with his head bowed. Defence barrister Peter Coiley QC described it as a "gross breach of trust".

He said the defendant's wife's father helped get money together to pay Mr McCallen back.

"He embarked on an enterprise for some time and succumbed to temptation," he said.

"At the time he was planning for a wedding and was living beyond his means. The matter just went on and on.

"This has brought a great deal of shame on him and to his wife and all those associated with him. He is deeply ashamed."

In sentencing the accused, Judge Donna McColgan QC said: "This was a very serious breach of trust that lasted over three years."

Mr McCallen, who retired from road racing in 1999, said his former employee should have been jailed.

"While the prosecution did a good job I would like to have seen him get a custodial sentence," he said.

"I feel a crime that serious should have been a jail sentence but the court felt differently. When you find out an employee you trusted has been stealing from you for four years, it's a big knock to your own trust.

"It's been two years full of stress and sleepless nights wandering what was going to happen and what the punishment will be and how to prove what happened.

"We spent thousands on a CCTV system to protect the stock and he then turned to a very devious way to steal money through false invoices.

"He has never apologised for his crime."

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