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£6k bill for fraud case PE teacher

A FORMER PE teacher who spent £6,000 from school funds on his private coaching business hasbeen ordered to pay the money back after being convicted of fraud. Steve Restarick (44), of Sutton

Road, Maidstone, worked as the head of PE at Maidstone Grammar School between 2009 and 2014, but during this time used school money to fund a private sports coaching business. He denied the offence but a jury

found him guilty at Inner London Crown Court where he was later given an 18 month sentence.Hewas also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work. The court heard that Restarick

joined the Barton Road school as a teacher in 2002. In 2005 he set up a football training school, called Pre- mier Football School, in partnership with the establishment. Itwas agreed that Restarick could

run the business on school grounds, with the profits evenly divided. However this agreement ended in 2009.

From this point on Restarick was instructed to fund the venture him- self, with the only income received by the school being an agreed rental

fee for the use of its football pitches. In February 2014, equipment bearing the name of his business was discovered in a disused chang- ing room on school premises. Itwas also stored in a school pavilion in boxes to which only Restarick had access. An assessment of department in-

voices found purchases for the Pre- mier Football School going through the school’s PE budget. As well as the charge of fraud, Restarick was charged with three counts of witness intimidation and one count of theft by an employee. A jury acquitted him of these charges. Investigating officer DC Simon

Powell said: “Restarick was un- doubtedly a very talented, popular and respected teacher, but he took advantage of his position to grow his own business over a number of years.

“Restarick’s actions meant a

school whichwas funded by the tax- payer was deprived of money that should have gone to its pupils. “The investigation into this was lengthy and complex and it and the sentence he has received are entirely appropriate.”

Spa hotel plan agreed

A PLAN for a lavish spa hotel has been approved by councillors, in spite of concerns by conservationists. Ciaran O’Quigley (48), the owner of Mu Mu’s in Week Street and the

mastermind behind the hotel concept, thanked Maidstone Council for tak- ing the brave decision. Ahead of the meeting he said that while tourism played a big part in the future plans forMaidstone, therewas no high-end accommodation in the town centre. He is pictured at the site. However, Maid-

stone Council’s plan- ning committee has agreed that the 36- bedroom, luxury spa hotel can be built at the lower end of Brewer Street, behind St Francis’ Roman Catholic Church. It will include treat- ment rooms, a retro cinema, Roman bath and a 100-cover restaurant, pro- viding an estimated 20 jobs. The work will involve the demolition of St Francis’ School building, which Historic England and the council’s conservation officer expressed concerns about. Money will be donated to St Francis’ Church for a new hall. The proposed 1930s-style HotelMuMuwas recommended for approval

by planning officers and was met with positive feedback from councillors and others keen to see the £6m investment in the county town. Cllr Naghi said: “The schemewill give a ‘wow’ factor and amuch-needed

point of interest to visitors stepping off the train to walk into town.” Before the proposal went to committee, parish priest Canon Luke Smith

said he supported the plan, saying he believed it will be an asset to the town, with an agreement in place between Mr O’Quigley and the diocese that would be “beneficial to all concerned”. It is understood the building will take 18 months to complete and Mr O’Quigley hopes that work will begin in early January.

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MA T TRE SSE S HE ADBO ARDS Maidstone East October 2016 15



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