Belfast Telegraph

Piano tutor used churches for her fake music tests

BY VICTORIA O'HARA

A music teacher who duped children and their parents by awarding them fake exams, used churches for her pupils to sit the tests.

Claire Thompson (25), from Lisburn, said she was a registered music teacher with the London College of Music.

But she ended up in court after she entered six different girls for piano exams when in fact she was not registered at all. The fraudulent teacher then kept the exams fees for herself and used two fake piano Grade Four certificates to dupe girls into believing they had passed that standard.

Last Thursday, 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.

It has now emerged that Thompson, who holds a degree in music from Queen's University, used three different churches for the children to sit the exams.

Speaking to the Sunday Life, Joanne, a mother of one of the victims, said she didn't believe Thompson was sorry. Five families were due to testify against Thompson before she pleaded guilty.

"We had no reason to doubt her because she was a lovely girl, was well recommended and she didn't come across as anything but professional," the woman said.

"One of the other mothers pushed and pushed and pushed for the certificate and threatened that if it did not come, she was going to call the music board and Claire used the excuse of having to register her with the board to borrow the real certificate.

"Well, lo and behold, the very next day a certificate was pushed through her door but it had the wrong name on it, same first name but wrong surname and Claire tried to explain it away that she was a numpty and would get it sorted but it was because of that that the mum contacted one of the three music boards about it."

The London College of Music informed her they had no record of Claire or the daughter who had sat the exam or indeed any exam.

QUOTE

"One of the other mothers pushed for the certificate and Claire used the excuse of having to register her with the board to borrow the real certificate. Well, the very next day a certificate was pushed through her door but it had the wrong name on it... because of that the mum contacted one of the boards."

Joanne, mother of one of the victims of Claire Thompson

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