Former lieutenant colonel on trial over school fees

A former British Army officer fraudulently claimed almost £220,000 to send his three children to a top public school, a court has heard.

Robert Jolleys, 52, of Woodlands Park, Whalley, Lancashire, claimed the fees for Stonyhurst College for nearly a decade, Swindon Crown Court was told.

The jury heard he was separated from wife Judith, which meant he was not eligible for the claims.

Mr Jolleys denies 11 counts of fraud, deception and forgery.

The former lieutenant colonel is accused of five charges of obtaining a money transfer by deception, three of fraud and three of forgery between January 2002 and December 2009.

Schooling 'unaffordable'

Prosecutor Nicolas Gerasimidis said Mr Jolleys falsely claimed the Continuing Education Allowance, which allows armed forces personnel to receive up to 90% of the costs of boarding school fees so that childrens' education is not disrupted by parents' overseas postings.

When army personnel separate or divorce they are no longer qualified to claim the fees unless they are the children's primary carer, the court heard.

Mr Jolleys kept up an elaborate charade that he was still married and that his wife lived with him in his army quarters at Uphavon when in reality they had split in 2002, the jury was told.

He was found out when his estranged wife telephoned his superior officer at Shrivenham Defence Academy to ask where he was in 2009, Mr Gerasimidis said.

The prosecutor said Mr Jolleys then tried to cover his tracks and left the army the following year, after an investigation had begun.

Mr Gerasimidis said the defendant made a retrospective application to be acknowledged as the primary carer for the children but that was turned down.

He is also accused of forging his wife's signature on official documents.

Mr Gerasimidis said: "Lieutenant Colonel Jolleys, as he then was, was taking advantage of an allowance by virtue of his posting to get the children's education paid for.

"That type of schooling would otherwise be unaffordable to those earning the sort of money Lieutenant Colonel Jolleys was earning."

The trial continues.

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