Football club takeover pair deny fraud

Warwick Crown Court

A court has heard that a South Warwickshire businessman and a builder stripped the gate receipts from home games at a struggling League Two football club they were trying to take over.

Stephen Murrall (49) of Mill Court, Shipston-on-Stour, and Peter Harris (47) of Compton Court, Watery Lane, Shipston-on-Stour, have pleaded not guilty to fraud by making false representations in January 2015 that they needed funds to satisfy the Football League that they were fit and proper persons to buy the club, and that they had access to a further £200,000.

The pair also deny two more fraud charges.

In addition, Murrall has pleaded not guilty to a further two charges of making false statements with intent to defraud HM Revenue and Customs.

The trial at Warwick Crown Court heard this week that as the men tried to show the Football League they were ‘fit and proper persons’ to run Hartlepool United, they defrauded a business contact to replace the cash, a jury has been told.

Having set up a company called TMH 2014 Ltd, referencing the supporters’ nickname of the Monkey Hangers, for the takeover, the alleged fraud is said to have gone into extra time as they came up with a succession of excuses for not repaying the money.

For more on this story read this Thursday’s Herald.