A disgraced former police civilian worker who served 11 years in jail for his wife’s murder defrauded almost £1,000 from a health trust, a court has been told.
At Antrim Magistrates Court, 63-year-old Adrian Stewart Baird was handed a five-month prison sentence for 18 charges of fraud by false representation but walked free from court after District Judge Nigel Broderick suspended his sentence for two years.
In addition, he ordered Baird to repay the £863.76 that he swindled from the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.
“You have to understand that these are serious offences,” the judge told Baird, “these are public funds and they’re there for those who need them.”
Having contested the allegations last November Baird, from Sperrin Court, Limekiln Lane in Cookstown, was convicted on 18 counts of fraud by false representation in that he submitted false travel claims to the Trust for multiple hospital visits over a two-month period between November 22 2016 and January 13 2017.
Two hospital administrators had given evidence they had been alerted to the claims Baird was making and had investigated them.
Hospital cashier Roy Thompson told the court “suspicions were aroused by the frequency of trips to the A&E department”.
Mr Baird denied the claims were fraudulent and said the six occasions when he arrived by ambulance to A&E he had either soiled himself or vomited on himself and due to the long waiting time had got a taxi to drive him back to Cookstown, who waited on him to get cleaned up and then drive him back to hospital.
On the other 12 charges the prosecution says there was no record of Baird being at the hospital – though he claimed he was there every time and he was seen every time by a doctor or nurse.
A prosecution lawyer said Baird filed bogus claims for taxi journeys to hospital that were “either not made or journeys made where he attended by ambulance.”
Defence counsel Chris Sherrard submitted there was a “fairly positive” pre-sentence probation report before the court where Baird made “something if a qualified acceptance” of his guilt.”
He told the court there is “obviously a very significant event in his life in 2004” which had resulted in Baird being “subject to licence for the rest of his life”.
Baird was employed as a civilian armoured with the police and used his personal protection pistol to shoot his wife Katrina in the head in a fit of jealous rage in 2003.
Baird killed her a month after they had ended their 24-year marriage and after murdering the 41-year-old, he called an ambulance telling the operator he had argued with his wife.
Baird, described as “domineering and possessive” by the judge at that subsequent trail was sentenced to life in prison and served the minimum of 11 years.
Baird claimed he had initially thought of taking his own life when the marriage ended but decided to confront Mrs Baird one last time and to her workplace on the outskirts of Broughshane.
Then in a fit of jealousy, during a supposed argument, he shot Mrs Baird in the courtyard of the property.
Sentencing Baird District Judge Broderick said he was satisfied the fraudster had “abused this scheme and used it basically as a money making exercise.”
He told Baird that given his numerous health difficulties, “I won’t send you to prison” but would “leave something hanging over your head.”
He was warned, however, that if he re-offended in the next two years “that sentence will be activated".