Expenses scandal: Former Essex County Council leader found guilty

FORMER Essex County Council leader Lord Hanningfield has been found guilty...

A FORMER Essex County Council leader was found guilty of six counts of expenses fraud at Chelmsford Crown Court today.

Lord Hanningfield, 70, was convicted of fraudulently claiming parliamentary expenses of nearly �14,000 between March 2006 and May 2009 - relating to six individual one-month periods.

The jury deliberated for four hours before passing their verdict for Lord Hanningfield’s expenses which included �13,379 for overnight stays in London when he was not in the capital.

Relating to the overnight stays Lord Hanningfield, of West Hanningfield near Chelmsford, said: “You could sleep on a park bench and claim the money.”

The former Tory peer, who denied the charges, also wrongfully claimed �382 in train fares and �147 in mileage by doubling the seven-miles from his house to a train station.

In court he said he ‘spent a minute a month’ completing his expenses form.

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Mr Justice Saunders said he will pass sentence at Chelmsford Crown Court in three weeks.

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