Saturday, 4 February 2012

A FORMER cop who stole more than £400,000 from his elderly aunt and cheated his own brother has been ordered to pay back £200,000.


John Lamberton, 57, persuaded 75-year-old widow Annie Paul to hand over her portfolio of stocks and shares to him.

His actions left Annie, who treated him like a son, short of cash in her last years – and meant his brother never got his rightful inheritance from her estate when she died in 1998.

Yesterday, Lamberton, who fled to Spain to cheat justice but was brought back to Britain and jailed for seven years in 2005, was told he must pay back £200,000 under proceeds of crime legislation.

After the hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, Lindsey Miller, head of the Crown Office’s Serious and Organised Crime Division, welcomed the ruling.

She said: “This was a despicable crime and a breach of trust carried out by John Lamberton against members of his own family.

“He betrayed his own brother and the wishes of his aunt, to whom he claimed to be very close.

“He pretended to be a loyal nephew but his later actions revealed he had designs on her fortune. We are satisfied that this £200,000 confiscation order represents the amount of money available to us at this time.

“The message is a clear one. Fleeing from Scotland and investing in property abroad does not protect criminals.”

Lamberton, who worked for the former Royal Ulster Constabulary in Derry, moved the shares into an offshore account in his own name within a few weeks of persuading his aunt to sign them over.

He then told the pensioner, from Bo’ness, West Lothian, that he had invested the money, which she inherited from her millionaire farmer husband, poorly.

At Lamberton’s trial in 2005, Lord Hardie told him: “This was a gross breach of trust placed in you by an elderly relative. Elderly people must be protected from the avarice of people such as you.

“As a result, she was deprived of a substantial income and complained about a lack of funds.”

Lamberton’s sentence was reduced to five years on appeal.