Legion man jailed after stealing war medals

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by oldbaldy, Oct 5, 2006.

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  1. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    A former Royal British Legion vice-chairman is facing jail after he stole war medals and cheated veterans out of an emotional trip back to the Normandy battlefields.

    Edward Portlock, 72, of Gloucester, pocketed £2,228 from members who had paid him the cash to cover transport and hotel costs.

    He also stole and sold six Second World War medals, which had been given to him to be re-ribboned by a veteran.
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    Eight more medals were taken from a display at the Hardwicke branch of the RBL, where he had been elected vice chairman three years earlier.

    Portlock had organised the trip to Normandy to mark the D-Day landings for 23 veterans, but cancelled it just a week before they were due to leave, claiming too many people had pulled out.

    In reality he had spent the cash to supplement his pension and never paid for any aspect of the trip.

    Cash raised from a sponsored sky dive was also diverted into his account. One of the sky divers had broken a leg during the fundraiser.

    He admitted three charges of theft, four of deception and asked for a further eight to be taken into consideration at Gloucester Magistrates Court.

    Magistrates, who can only hand out a maximum term of 12 months imprisonment, ruled the case was beyond their jurisdiction and sent it to Gloucester Crown Court for sentencing.

    Dennis Goodwin, chairman of the World War One Veterans Association, said Portlock cruelly denied many of the former soldiers a last chance to return to the battlefields.

    "I just threw my hands up in horror. It's such a terrible breach of trust. How could anyone do this," he said.

    "These are vulnerable people who may never get the chance to go to France again."

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/10/05/umedals.xml

    Oh dear.
     
  2. Ventress

    Ventress LE Moderator

    Hope the man gets all he deserves. Disgraceful.
     
  3. filth
     
  4. Good.
     
  5. What he did was wrong, obviously.

    But before You rush to condemn him out of hand, ask Yourselves what drove a bloke, who knew he must get caught out, to take these funds.

    That he took the money to supplement his pensions speaks volumes.
     
  6. A former Royal British Legion vice-chairman is facing jail after he stole war medals and cheated veterans out of an emotional trip back to the Normandy battlefields.

    Edward Portlock, 72, of Gloucester, pocketed £2,228 from members who had paid him the cash to cover transport and hotel costs.

    He also stole and sold six Second World War medals, which had been given to him to be re-ribboned by a veteran.

    Eight more medals were taken from a display at the Hardwicke branch of the RBL, where he had been elected vice chairman three years earlier.

    Portlock had organised the trip to Normandy to mark the D-Day landings for 23 veterans, but cancelled it just a week before they were due to leave, claiming too many people had pulled out.

    In reality he had spent the cash to supplement his pension and never paid for any aspect of the trip.


    Article in full

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=BSX4DSXKXSK3RQFIQMGSFF4AVCBQWIV0?xml=/news/2006/10/05/umedals.xml
     
  7. What a Scumbag to do this.
     
  8. This guy should put a gun to his head and blow his brains out.
     
  9. Yes, that he's a thieving b@stard. Plenty of OAP's have to get by on very little but don't resort to theft over it.
     
  10. Like I said in my deleted post, the man needs to put a gun to his head and blow his brains out.
     
  11. Can I get my avatar back? Thanks in advance.
     
  12. More to the point, having been a part of the Legion for many years, he should have known the personal value of the medals and the fact that, if he was really in that much trouble, the Legion could provide some help.

    He ignored these facts and decided to steal to improve his situation.... That is what speaks volumes! :x
     
  13. Exactly! The Royal British Legion has all sorts of different departments to help/assist/advise ex-service personnel and being an elected officer he would have known about these. He could've gone to any one of them and it would not have affected his standing as Vice Chairman. However, I have no doubt that, given his generation, he will be suffering BIG time now from guilt.
     
  14. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    He has now been to court:

    The Royal British Legion official who cheated veterans out of a D-Day trip to Normandy was warned yesterday that he faced jail unless he paid back the money he stole.

    Edward Portlock, 72, pocketed £2,228 from members who had paid for transport and hotel costs for the battlefields tour, a court heard.

    He also stole six Second World War medals, which a veteran had given him to be re-ribboned, and sold them for £275. Six more medals were taken from a display at the legion's Hardwicke branch in Gloucestershire, where Portlock had been elected vice-chairman three years earlier.
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    Gloucester Crown Court was also told that cash raised from a sponsored sky dive was diverted into his account.

    Portlock, of Gloucester, admitted three charges of theft and four of deception and asked for a further eight to be considered.

    Veterans and legion members, who packed the public gallery, reacted angrily after Judge Martin Picton deferred sentence until next May. Some said he should have been jailed immediately.

    The judge warned Portlock that if he failed to refund the veterans and write them all a letter of apology he would send him to jail.

    "The harm you have done by your dishonest actions is incalculable," he said. "Your friends placed their trust in you to arrange this important trip and you let them down in this most awful way. It was thoroughly shabby and selfish." He added: "To sell an old soldier's war medals in the way you did beggars belief."

    But the judge told Portlock that because of his age he did not want to send him to prison and was giving him the chance to put things right.

    "If in six months you have fulfilled these expectations which I have placed upon you then I will do my level best to avoid sending you to custody because I do struggle with the idea of sending someone of your age to prison," he said. "But if I have to I will."

    Speaking after the hearing, Tony Smith, the former president of the branch, said Portlock had denied people their last chance of an emotional return to Normandy, and that he should have had an immediate jail sentence.

    He said: "I so much wanted to go to France and visit the battlefields, but I don't think I'll ever get the chance now. He said he was a major in the Welsh Guards and had had tea with the Queen Mother, but we found out it was all lies."

    It was unclear yesterday whether Portlock ever served in a full-time regiment.

    Roy Hodges, 69, who had served with Portlock in the Territorial Army for many years, said: "I'm absolutely furious that he's got away with it. He was my best mate. I feel utterly cheated by him."

    Harry Francis, 82, who served with the Special Boat Service and gave Portlock his six Second World War medals to be re-ribboned, said he "felt sick" when he discovered that Portlock had sold them.

    "I gave them to Portlock in good faith because he said he could get them done free of charge," he said. "How can a man do that?"

    The court was told that Portlock had organised the trip to Normandy for 23 veterans to mark the D-Day landings, but cancelled it just a week before they were due to leave, claiming that too many people had pulled out. In reality he had spent the cash and had not paid for any part of the trip.

    Portlock, who was convicted of a string of deception charges during the 1960s and 1980s, came up with a series of excuses when he was asked for the money back, including feigning illness.

    Derek Ryder, defending, said Portlock had paid back £700 and the medals had been recovered. With the help of his family he could raise the remaining money.

    He added: "His humiliation to date has been very public. He's very sorry for what he has done."

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/11/09/nlegion09.xml
     
  15. YEah, that he was willing to steal from those of equal poverty in order to better his life.

    Your situation in life does not excuse acts like this!