An Army Major who was awarded an MBE for his charity work defrauded the military out of nearly £40,000 to send his children to one of the country’s most expensive boarding schools, a court heard today.
Royal Engineer Lloyd Hamilton allegedly misused taxpayers’ money to pay for their education while he was stationed abroad.
A court martial heard the 47-year-old father of two, who was based in Cyprus at the time, was only eligible to claim the allowances as long as his wife Liz was living with him.
But following a breakdown in their marriage Mrs Hamilton, an IBM manager, remained at their private £500,000 four bedroom home in Hamble, Hampshire.
Major Lloyd Hamilton arriving at Bulford Military Court this morning
Major Hamilton is one of the founding members of Toe in the Water, a tri-service charity that uses competitive sailing to re-inspire injured servicemen and women to see beyond their injuries
The court heard Major Hamilton sent his wife texts saying he knew he was being investigated for fraudulently claiming £38,892 worth of fees to send his two children to Queen Elthelburga’s Collegiate in Yorkshire.
Prosecutors allege the majority of the fees at the £49,875-a-year school were paid for fraudulently by the Major because he knew he was no longer eligible.
Bulford Military Court, Wiltshire, heard that over the 12 months between 1 July 2017 and 1 August 2018, when the offences were alleged to have taken place, Major Hamilton was based at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus.
During that time there were ‘substantial difficulties’ in the couple’s relationship and Major Hamilton told her he thought it was best if she remained in the UK.
The court heard he told friends he, ‘didn’t want to continue walking blindly through life’ just for the children and wanted a divorce.
Prosecutors also claimed trips made to Cyprus by Mrs Hamilton were taken just to maintain the ‘facade’ that they were still together.
In early 2018 Major Hamilton sent messages to his wife telling her he suspected his continuity of education allowance (CEA) claims for thousands of pounds were being questioned.
The average salary for a Major in the British Army is around £54,000 according to the Ministry of Defence.
In one text, he said: ‘So there are a lot of indications that work are looking into why you are not here if this leads to me being investigated I will be f*****g fuming.’
The court heard Major Hamilton sent his wife texts saying he knew he was being investigated for fraudulently claiming £38,892 worth of fees to send his two children to Queen Elthelburga’s Collegiate in Yorkshire
Prosecuting, Commander Peter Barker said: ‘The allegation is that having submitted a claim for CEA he failed to disclose information he was under a duty to disclose and that information was that was his wife, Mrs Hamilton, was not living with him in the service family accommodation in Cyprus.
‘In this case the crown say over the entire period of the charges, a period of 397 days, the allegation is that Mrs Hamilton was not living at the work address.
‘In fact, we say she only spent 99 days in Cyprus, 25 per cent of that time.
‘The crown say that the marriage was in substantial difficulties and then broke down irretrievably.’
Commander Barker told the court that Major Hamilton’s two children, a daughter aged 12 and in year 7, and a son, then 10, and in year 5, both attended Queen Elthelburga’s.
The school is one of the most expensive boarding schools in the country.
He continued: ‘The vast majority of their fees were being paid for by public money.’
Major Hamilton is one of the founding members of Toe in the Water, a tri-service charity that uses competitive sailing to re-inspire injured servicemen and women to see beyond their injuries.
He denies two charges of fraud. The trial, expected to last six days, continues.
This post was first published on DailyMail.