Jail for Bovingdon man who funded lavish lifestyle with cash left to children’s charity in best friend’s will

Christopher MacKnight.
Christopher MacKnight.

A man from Bovingdon who was the executor of his best friend’s will has been sentenced to 27 months behind bars for spending money that was bequeathed to a children’s charity.

Christopher MacKnight of Howard Agne Close was sentenced at Harrow Crown Court on Wednesday, having earlier pleaded guilty to theft on the first day of his trial back in May.

The 53-year-old was executor to a close friend’s will and in 2003.

Derek Roberts stipulated that £133,000 from his estate should go to Action For Children, a charity that supports vulnerable and neglected youngsters in the UK.

But MacKnight transferred all the cash to his personal account to fuel a lavish lifestyle, and not a penny was ever given to the charity.

Although the charity tried to get hold of the money, MacKnight dodged their attempts to make him cough up.

Det Con Jane Swift said: “This is a truly appalling case. MacKnight was entrusted with role of executor to his friend’s will and instead of giving the money to charity as directed, he frivolously spent it on buying new cars, paying off his own debts and fuelling an extravagant lifestyle.

“Fortunately there are mechanisms in place, associated to the Probate Office, which notify charities when a donation is to be made and in this case this proved vital in highlighting the failure to forward this substantial amount of money on.

“This was a long and complex investigation, conducted over a period of two years and I am pleased the judge saw the seriousness of MacKnight’s actions and handed him a substantial sentence.”

Police are in the process of pursuing a confiscation order through the courts under the Proceeds of Crime Act so that they can recover money owed the charity.