Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Seven years for rugby fraudster

London Welsh are back in the top flight after beating Bristol in the Championship play-off final in June

A "despicable" fraudster whose victims included rugby club London Welsh was jailed for seven years on Friday.

Neil Hollinshead, from Putney south west London, targeted the club when it hit financial difficulties in 2009.

Judge David Higgins, sentencing at London's Southwark Crown Court, said Hollinshead claimed he would inject the £1million a year needed, but the money never existed.

He bought the club for a nominal £6, in a deal approved by the Rugby Football Union, and owned it for a few months until the club was returned to its former owners by a court, and he was declared bankrupt, from which he has not been discharged.

The judge said: "It was a disastrous period for the club. It only survived because the original owners and various benefactors continued to fund it to the tune of many hundreds of thousands of pounds.

"It's plain to me that you produced not one penny of your own, let alone the £1million you promised, and which quite obviously never existed."

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