Ex-royal bodyguard jailed for £3m investment scam

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The Independent Online

A former royal bodyguard who masterminded a £3 million investment scam was jailed for six years today.

Paul Page, 38, used a bogus property company and "outlandish lies" to con colleagues, family, friends and others out of savings, redundancy cash and pension pay-outs.

He then gambled much of it away, before squandering the rest on his "expensive lifestyle" and mounting debts.

Some victims, including those guarding the Queen, not only lost six-figure fortunes but their homes and marriages as well, London's Southwark Crown Court heard.

Unrepentant throughout, he then used his trial to make a string of allegations about colleagues at work.

He claimed officers posed for photographs on the Queen's throne, peddled hardcore pornography and steroids, slept on duty, smuggled friends into royal garden parties and offered them Buckingham Palace parking spaces for West End shopping trips.

Original defence papers, ruled inadmissible by the judge, alleged that golfing enthusiast the Duke of York routinely asked members of the elite royal police squad to act as "ball boys" while they were supposed to be protecting him.

Page also maintained victims either knew their money was being invested in spread-betting, or trusted him so much they never bothered to ask what he was going to do with it.

But the Crown branded his defence as "pie in the sky" and dismissed his "diversionary tactics" as no more real than "fairies at the bottom of the garden".

Page, of Granville Road, Chafford Hundred, Grays, Essex, was convicted of fraudulent trading between 2003 and 2006.

Sentencing, Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC, told Page: "The prosecution have described the scale of your fraud as breathtaking and so it was, breathtakingly dishonest, relentless and callous.

"For during this period, by a process of countless lies and very cunning manipulation, you managed to create what amounted to a false world of property development and you used that to deceive a large number of innocent victims.

"You tricked many of them into parting with what most people would normally regard as huge sums of money. Clearly all those people have been seriously affected. Some have been so crippled financially that your fraud has led to their virtual financial ruin."

Through "dishonesty" and by "living on your wits, and other people's money, over a period of nearly three years you managed to obtain literally millions of pounds from investors who were led to believe when they invested with you, that they were putting their money into a genuine property business, and, who, despite your evidence to the contrary, had no idea that in fact you intended to use their money, as you did, to gamble with - spread betting or gambling on your account with William Hill, the bookmakers, or for your own family purposes."

The judge said some of the 50 investors, who gave evidence in the three-month trial "told harrowing stories of how...their life savings, were place in your hands, in the most part never to be seen again.

"These investors included your own colleagues, who were persuaded to part with sums ranging from tens of thousands of pounds to literally hundreds of thousand of pounds, including, in one case, his commutation pension monies, and in another, money which was being saved up for the future of their children."

It was money accumulated over many years and as a result of "hard work and sacrifice".

The judge said six "distressing" victim impact statement before the court "represent only a fraction of the harm and anguish you caused so many people".