Major General 'switched homes in school fee fraud'

Image source, US Department of Defence
Image caption,
Maj Gen Nick Welch retired in 2018 as Assistant Chief of the General Staff

A senior Army officer lied about his home in order to claim a £48,000 allowance for his children's private education, a court martial has heard.

Maj Gen Nick Welch, 57, is accused of falsely claiming to live in London rather than close to the children's schools in Dorset.

Prosecutors say his wife's diary showed she spent most of her time at a cottage in Blandford Forum.

The retired officer denies the charge at Bulford Military Court.

Sarah Clarke QC, prosecuting, said Maj Gen Welch claimed the Continuity of Education Allowance between December 2015 and February 2017 for boarding fees at Clayesmore School and Hanford School, both located near Blandford.

The allowance is given to military families to allow children to remain in the same school when their parents are deployed elsewhere.

However, the officer's wife Charlotte wrote in her diary about travelling to London for business and social engagements, Ms Clarke said.

The barrister said one diary entry spoke of an absence from the family's London house "for more than a month" while other entries contained reminders of clothes needed for visits to the capital.

Ms Clarke said: "She has to specifically remind herself to pack stuff for London. If she was living in London she would have these items there.

"The house they were meant to be living in was London, but that is demonstrably not the case."

Maj Gen Welch retired in 2018 after serving as Assistant Chief of the General Staff.

The trial is expected to last for four weeks.

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