Blind Chesterfield man is accused of ripping-off charity for visually-impaired

Christopher Payne arrives at Derby Crown Court
Christopher Payne arrives at Derby Crown Court

A blind man has been accused of defrauding a charity for the blind and visually-impaired out of an estimated £7,000.

Christopher Payne, 57, of Byron Road, Chesterfield, appeared at Derby Crown Court on Friday, August 28, for allegedly defrauding The Accessible Friends Network during his time as the charity’s membership administrator and treasurer.

Prosecuting solicitor Ian Shaw previously told a hearing at Chesterfield magistrates’ court that Mr Payne was the membership administrator and treasurer at the charity for eight-and-half years.

He said an investigation arose after Mr Payne was out-voted and a new treasurer was to be put in place.

The defendant’s bank statements were obtained, according to Mr Shaw, and have been examined.

Mr Shaw claimed at the magistrates’ hearing: “The figures I have are estimated around £6,500 to £7,000.”

Mr Shaw claimed Mr Payne had transferred money from the charity’s accounts during the last three years. He also claimed Mr Payne had played the charity’s website bingo and had possessed the game tickets but had allegedly not paid the stake but when his numbers came up he had allegedly taken the winnings.

Mr Payne has been charged with committing fraud between January 1, 2012, and March 12, 2015, by putting BACS transfers into his own account.

The defendant has not yet indicated a plea.

He appeared at Derby Crown Court with his black Labrador guide dog Eric.

The Accessible Friends Network is a UK charity operating globally to support blind and visually-impaired people.

Recorder Coke adjourned Mr Plant’s case until October 30 and the defendant was released on unconditional bail.