Jury convicts Fakenham man of laundering thousands from his employer but he is cleared of theft
PUBLISHED: 14:26 30 March 2017 | UPDATED: 14:32 30 March 2017
Jamie Baxter shook his head after being found guilty of laundering thousands from his previous employer to live a “lavish lifestyle”.
But the 27 year-old let out a sigh of relief when a jury of six women and five men cleared him of theft after hearing he had sought permission to take the pool liner from Wensum Pools to surface his home.
After deliberating for five and a half hours at King’s Lynn Crown Court, the jury reached a majority verdict - of ten to one - finding Jamie Baxter guilty of converting criminal property.
Earlier, they heard of the “lifestyle purchases” he made with his wife Paula Baxter using money she had stolen from the swimming pool supplier.
This included, a jury heard, a £2,500 spending spree within a period of six weeks between September and November 2015, where the couple bought two TVs, a car, Beats by Dr Dre headphones and tickets to a Real Madrid football match in Spain.
The court heard how Paula Baxter stole close to £26,000 between January 2015 and January 2016 from Wensum Pools when she was temporarily employed there to cover maternity leave of the accounts manager, and credited some if this money into her and her husband’s joint bank account.
Jamie Baxter was employed by the company as a general labourer in October 2015 before being dismissed when his wife’s misconduct came to light.
Speaking to the defendant, Recorder Rouse QC said that it is “well in mind” that compensation will be sought for Wensum Pools and advised Jamie Baxter to “get his savings in order”.
Recorder Rouse QC commended the jury for performing their role “with distinction” before they were released.
Wensum Pools staff, who attended the three-day trial, were visibly pleased with the guilty verdict and left the courtroom with smiles and hugs.
Speaking after the case, owner Andrea Morrison said she was not delighted with Jamie Baxter being cleared of theft, but added: “I am glad that the jury realised he was in cahoots with his wife and realised the lavish lifestyle they led.
“Now we can start moving forward after the sentencing, justice has been done.”
Jamie and Paula Baxter are due to return to court for sentencing on April 27.