Belfast Telegraph

Prince Harry death plot Ulster man guilty of £56k con

By John Cassidy

A Muslim convert who was jailed over a plot to kill Prince Harry is facing another prison term in relation to a £56,000 fraud.

Ashraf Islam (32) of Albert Street, Bangor, Co Down, will be sentenced later this week after he yesterday pleaded guilty to two counts of fraudulent training between April 2009 and May 2011.

In the first case of its kind in Northern Ireland, prosecution barrister Peter Magill told Belfast Crown Court that the offences had been committed under his former name of Mark Townley before he changed his identity by deed poll to Ashraf Islam.

"Mark Townley was the director for a 'not for profit organisation' called National Task Force which was later rebranded as NTF or NTF UK," the lawyer told Judge Patricia Smyth. "The company, based at Cromac Avenue, Belfast, purported to be a social enterprise who created, supported and funded youth projects across the United Kingdom.

"Police received complaints on May 10, 2010 from a Mr Roger Edgar, managing director of a company called CET Ltd who manufacture and supply fitted spas, and one of his employees Michael Calo.

"They had entered into business arrangements with Mr Townley in which they expected payments and had tendered cheques which had been returned to sender showing insufficient funds.

"In March 2010, Mr Townley approached Robert Edgar with a business proposition - he offered to advertise for CET Ltd through his web pages but in return wanted a discounted spa that he could supply to Crusaders Rugby League Club in Wrexham," explained Mr Magill.

"The deal would involve the spa, retailing at £14,000, being supplied to Crusaders RLC. Mr Townley would pay £7,000 on behalf of National Task Force (NTF), Crusaders would pay a balance for £7,000 and Mr Townley would receive a cheque for £2,000 from CET as his commission.''

The court was told that Townley had provided a false bank statement to CET stating he had £47,828 in his account which showed he could afford the initial £7,000 to cover the cost of the spa.

However, the court heard that on May 10, Mr Townley's cheque for £7,000 was returned to CET "unpaid due to insufficient funds in his account".

The court heard that Townley's NTF company had also been involved in the supply of rings to boxing clubs across the UK.

In one incident, he advertised that he could supply a £75,000 boxing ring for £1,650 as NTF was providing government funding for community initiatives.

The court heard a boxing club in Wales paid the £1,650 by cheque but never received the 18ft competition boxing ring.

Asked by Judge Smith how many victims were involved in the fraud, Mr Magill replied: "It is very difficult to know. All I can say is that there is a large number of victims. What we can say is that the amount of money he gained is in the region of £56,000."

Defence for Townley said he had a range of mental health issues. Townley will be sentenced later this week.

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