Head teacher Sir Alan Davies avoids jail over fraud

Sir Alan Davies Sir Alan Davies retired from his £160,000 role in 2009

An "inspirational" head teacher has been given a suspended prison sentence after admitting false accounting.

Sir Alan Davies, 66, of Grants Close, the former head at Wembley's Copland School, in north London, pleaded guilty to creating a false paper trail on bonus payments and allowances.

Davies, knighted for his services to education, resigned in 2009.

At Southwark Crown Court, Judge Deborah Taylor said: "Your dishonest behaviour represents a fall from grace."

'Honest payments'

Davies had pleaded guilty to six counts of false accounting after he admitted creating eight back-payment documents at the same time.

The court heard that Davies paid himself, three staff members and two governors a total of £2.7m over several years through bonuses and salaries.

Defending Davies, William Clegg QC, told the court he was an "inspirational" teacher and the offences needed to be taken in context.

He said: "This is not a case of documents being forged to permit payments to be made that were unlawful and not agreed or made dishonestly. The position is the opposite.

"The payments were honestly made and honestly received. This is not somebody seeking to obtain money he was not entitled to."

'Profound error'

Prosecutor John Black QC added there was no dishonesty in the making or receiving of the payments.

He said: "The dishonesty relates to false paper trails in order to legitimise these payments.

"The Crown say they [paperwork backing up payments] were all generated at the same time, after Sir Alan Davies had become aware of the impending or likely scrutiny, to give the impression the right procedure was being adhered to."

Two counts of money laundering and conspiracy to defraud were dropped and conspiracy charges against five others were also dropped.

Following the case Davies said: "In some instances I have felt that we were being tried by the media and there were a lot of misrepresentations made in the press, many of which were wholly unfounded.

"I do, however, have to accept that I did not have all the necessary paperwork in place and I made a profound error of judgment by backdating eight documents."

In a statement, Brent Council, said: "The council will always act robustly and take action where allegations of financial irregularities have been made, to investigate and pursue legal action.

"In this case the guilty plea of false accounting vindicates the actions taken although we are disappointed the Crown Prosecution Service saw fit not to pursue the conspiracy to defraud."

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  1.  
    12:00:

    In a statement, Alice's family thanked the local community in west London for their support.

    "Hanwell is a multi-cultural and multi-faith area; the search and grief for Alice united the whole community in an extraordinary display of sympathy and compassion, and this has continued.

    "We are very grateful."

     
  2.  
    11:50:

    Alice's iPhone case was found in a narrow void at the rear of Zalkalns' garden.

    Alice with her phone

    Officers said while it is not possible to positively identify it by reference to a serial number, as it does not have one, Alice's sister is confident it is hers.

     
  3.  
    11:45:

    Her body was found on 30 September here in the River Brent.

    Place where Alice's body was found
     
  4.  
    11:40:

    Alice's trainers were found in her rucksack which was along the canal path.

    Traces of Zalkalns' DNA were found on the back of the shoes.

    Trainers and backpack
     
  5.  
    11:34:

    Alice's body was weighed down in the water with a wheel, bricks and logs.

    Bricks and logs used to weigh down Alice's body
     
  6.  
    11:30:

    At the press conference, Det Ch Insp Andy Chalmers said: "Boy do I wish we found her [Alice] earlier".

    Her body was found in the River Brent just over a month after she was last seen.

     
  7.  
    11:26:

    His body was found here in Boston Manor Park on 4 October.

    Boston Park
     
  8.  
    11:22:

    CCTV evidence suggested Zalkalns would have passed Alice on the towpath at about 16:10 on 28 August, when he stopped for at least 80 minutes, police said.

    CCTV of Alice Last sighting of Alice

    When he reappeared on camera, his appearance indicated he might have been in the water.

     
  9.  
    11:19:

    The Met Police has released images of the last sighting of Zalkalns.

    Arnis Zalkalns

    Here he was visiting a newsagents several days after he was alleged to have murdered Alice.

     
  10.  
    11:10:

    CCTV timeline:

    • The last known sighting of Alice is of her walking north at 16:26
    • The last connection between her phone and a cell mast was at 16:28
    • Her phone disconnected from the network at 17:11
    • Zalkalns would have overtaken Alice on the tow path at about 16:10
    • CCTV suggests he must have stopped for at least 80 minutes, and when he reappeared on camera his appearance indicated that he may have been in the water
    • Zalkalns returned to the tow path that evening, the following morning - when there is a significant period of time unaccounted for- and again on the evening of 29 August.
     
  11.  
    11:07:

    Here's a recap of the key points which have come out of today's press conference with the detective in charge of the investigation.

    • The single DNA sample from Alice's skin "strongly supports" a match to Zalkalns
    • Zalkalns returned to the tow path near Alice's body three times
    • Police say even if they had known earlier about Zalkalns' murder conviction in Latvia it would not have saved Alice

    For more details, see the BBC News report.

     
  12.  
    11:00: News on the hour BBC London 94.9 Radio

    Det Supt Carl Metha tells BBC London 94.9 they are confident the Latvian builder was responsible for Alice's murder last year.

    In the 11:00 bulletin, he describes some of the evidence they found against Zalkalns.

     
  13.  
    10:56:

    Det Ch Insp Andy Chalmers said: "I believed it was important for the CPS to assess the evidence that the investigation team had found against him (Zalkalns) to reassure Alice's family and the community, who were so affected by her disappearance.

    "The public support for our investigation in the local community was overwhelming.

    "I hope that the CPS's decision that, if he was alive, Zalkalns would have been charged with Alice's murder will in some way help the community come to terms."

     
  14.  
    10:54:

    Police also revealed that Zalkalns had returned twice to the area where Alice was last seen and had searched her name online as reports of her disappearance emerged.

     
  15.  
    10:43:

    The family added: "Although we now have certain information about how Alice died, we are still left with some serious unanswered questions about what the authorities knew or should have known about the man who is believed to have killed our daughter when he came to the UK."

     
  16.  
    10:39:

    In a statement today, Alice's family said: "It remains impossible to describe the pain of losing Alice. Her death has left a hole in our lives that can never be filled.

    Alice's family Alice's father Jose, mother Rosalind Hodgkiss and sister Nina Gross

    "Every day is a reminder of her life and her loss, and it is hard to imagine a future in which we can find peace and healing.

    "Her brutal murder remains shocking, an appalling senseless act that is still difficult to believe or understand."

     
  17.  
    10:29:

    Arnis Zalkalns was first linked to Alice's disappearance after he was filmed cycling along Brentford Lock canal towpath shortly after the school girl walked along it.

    Arnis Zalkalns
     
  18.  
    10:20:

    Key points:

    • At a press conference held today, the Met said the key suspect in her disappearance, Arnis Zalkalns, would have been charged with Alice Gross' murder
    • His body was found hanged in a park several days after the 14-year-old's body was discovered
    • Police said the motive for her death was "most likely sexual"
    • Alice went missing on 28 August near to her home in Hanwell, west London
    • She died from compression of the chest
     
  19.  
    10:17: Danny Shaw Home affairs correspondent, BBC News

    Alice's body weighed down with bricks, sections of tree trunks, covered with branches. The bag used to conceal her body matched the next bag on roll from Zalkalns' workplace.

     
  20.  
    10:07:

    Although police think the motive was sexual, there was no evidence that she was sexually assaulted, said BBC London reporter Nick Beake who is at the press conference.

     
  21.  
    10:01: News on the hour BBC London 94.9 Radio

    Get the latest from the press conference on Alice Gross with reporter Anna O'Neill in the 10:00 bulletin.

     
  22.  
    09:52:

    Her cause of death was given as compression of chest probably caused by a heavier body lying on and crushing her weaker body.

    The conclusion was reached by a process of elimination as no other obvious marks or injuries were found on her body.

     
  23.  
    09:41:

    Her cause of death was "compressive asphyxia".

    Alice Gross
     
  24.  
    09:39: Danny Shaw Home affairs correspondent, BBC News

    Police say even if they'd known earlier about Mr Zalkalns' murder conviction in Latvia it would not have saved Alice.

     
  25.  
    09:38:

    No-one else was involved in Mr Zalkalns' death. He was found hanged in woodland in Boston Manor Park, near Hanwell, on 4 October.

    Check BBC London's timeline for more details of how Alice's murder.

     
  26.  
    09:35:

    Her disappearance captivated the local area, with yellow ribbons and flowers adorning Hanwell throughout her disappearance.

    Flowers and messages of condolence besides the clock tower in Hanwell
     
  27.  
    09:29:

    Det Ch Insp Andy Chalmers said the motive for her death was "likely sexual".

    The scientific evidence does not link him directly to her death but evidence as a whole would have been enough to charge him with abduction and murder.

     
  28.  
    09:28:

    BBC London's Nick Beake tweets: "Graphic: Alice Gross's body was wrapped in bin bag and weighed down with bricks, logs and a bicycle wheel."

     
  29.  
    09:24:

    At a news conference, the Met also said there was no evidence to suggest Mr Zalkalns was responsible for any other reported crime.

    Arnis Zalkalns

    But the 41-year-old Latvian builder was a convicted murderer who had served seven years in prison in his native country for bludgeoning and stabbing his wife Rudite to death.

     
  30.  
    09:20:

    The police think Alice was murdered before she was reported missing on 28 August. Her body was found on 30 September.

     
  31.  
    09:16: Alice Gross Danny Shaw Home affairs correspondent, BBC News

    The iPhone cover thought to belong to Alice was found hidden in Mr Zalkalns' garden while a cigarette butt with his DNA on was discovered close to her body.

     
  32.  
    09:15: Alice Gross

    Alice's disappearance sparked what the Met said was its largest inquiry since the 7/7 bombings in 2005.

    Alice Gross

    Hundreds of officers from several forces around the country helped with the investigation. She was last seen walking along a canal near her home in Hanwell, west London, at the end of August.

    Her body was found more than a month later.

     
  33.  
    BREAKING NEWS

    The CPS says it would have charged Mr Zalkalns if he had been alive although there was no forensic or eyewitness evidence, only circumstantial.

     
  34.  
    BREAKING NEWS

    The Met Police have sent a report to the Crown Prosecution Service saying Arnis Zalkalns was responsible for the murder of 14-year-old school girl Alice Gross.

     
  35.  
    09:00: News on the hour Jason Rosam Journalist, BBC London

    In the London News at 09:00, the mayor's cycling commissioner says the consultation into plans to segregate cyclists from traffic along the Embankment.

    And the wife of a Russian spy who was murdered in London in 2006 says what she hopes an inquiry into his death will achieve.

     
  36.  
    08:51: On air BBC London 94.9 Radio

    London Mayor Boris Johnson is to go ahead with his flagship cycle superhighway on Victoria Embankment.

    You can tell Vanessa what you think of the plans on BBC London 94.9 from 09:00.

     
  37.  
    08:39: Travel BBC Travel

    There are no Virgin or London Midland trains in or out of Euston at the moment due to electrical supply problems in the Wembley area.

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  38.  
    08:27: TV headlines BBC London News TV

    The headlines in this morning's bulletins include:

    • Public Health England has found that young people in London are the least likely to smoke in the country
    • A care home for the elderly in Rotherhithe is holding cocktail parties to help people with dementia relive their younger years
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  39.  
    08:17: Thameslink service returns Louise Pepper Journalist, BBC London

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  40.  
    08:10: Milder than lately

    It's a bright, chilly start with some patchy ground frost.

    Weather today

    Cloudy conditions will gradually spread from the west, but it should remain dry with a maximum temperature of 9C (48F).

     
  41.  
    08:01: Radio headlines Jason Rosam Journalist, BBC London

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  42.  
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    Good morning. I'll be bringing you all the latest news, sport, travel and weather until 18:00.

    You can email me your comments about the stories of the day or send photos or tweet @BBCLondonNews.

     

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