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Friday, 25 April 2014

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Cumbrian chef falsely accused former colleague of theft at top hotel

A chef at one of Cumbria’s top hotels has been fined and given a suspended prison sentence for falsely accusing a former workmate of stealing his laptop.

Scott Holmes was arrested and spent an hour in the cells after ex-colleague Kevin Leusink told police he had stolen his laptop after breaking into his room at the Crown Hotel in Wetheral near Carlisle.

He was released only after he convinced officers that there was no truth in the allegation and that Leusink had in fact sold the computer for £230 to a man called Mark Little five days earlier.

At Carlisle Crown Court yesterday Leusink, 32, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice by signing a false statement of complaint.

Prosecutor Dick Binstead told the court that Leusink, a sous chef, had claimed Mr Holmes stole the laptop after leaving the hotel some time before “under a cloud”.

He said it must have been him because only he knew where it was.

But, Mr Binstead said, it later emerged that Leusink had made up the story because he believed Mr Holmes had made false allegations against him and had tried to intimidate him while they were working together at the hotel.

Leusink was given a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 80 hours of unpaid community work.

He was also fined £2,500 and made to pay £500 court costs.

Judge Peter Hughes QC told him that what he had done struck at “the very heart” of the British justice system.

“Whether you saw this as some sort of prank or as some way of getting at Mr Holmes for the way he had treated you is really by the by,” he said.

“But this was not a game, it was serious. The reality is you made a totally false allegation against a man who was innocent.

“It must have been a thoroughly unpleasant experience for him and however he had treated you it was not one that he deserved.”

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