Former Co-op bank boss facing fraud charge suffers stroke

Paul Flowers was due in court but his lawyer said he had recently suffered a stroke.

Pat Hurst
Wednesday 06 September 2023 11:28 BST
Former Co-op Bank boss Paul Flowers in 2014 (PA)
Former Co-op Bank boss Paul Flowers in 2014 (PA) (PA Archive)

Former Co-op Bank boss Paul Flowers suffered a stroke the day before he was due in court accused of fraud by abusing his position, a judge has been told.

Flowers was not present for the brief hearing at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday where he was due to appear accused of defrauding a woman of carpets and by using cheques while acting as power of attorney.

District Judge Tom Mitchell adjourned the hearing for a month after being told Flowers had a stoke on August 29, the day before he was first due to first appear in court last week.

Elizabeth Ridgway, defending Flowers, a former Methodist minister, Labour councillor in both Rochdale and Bradford, and chairman of Co-op Bank between 2010 and 2013, asked for Wednesday’s hearing to be adjourned.

A person must be before the court before they can be dealt with. He has to appear here at some point

District Judge Tom Mitchell

Ms Ridgway said her client had sent an email on August 30 to say he had had a stroke the previous day and had been in hospital.

A letter had also been received from the community psychiatric services which said the stroke had impacted Flowers’ mobility and he was struggling to leave his home in Swinton, Salford.

Ms Ridgway said the letter asked for Flowers to be given time to recover his physical and mental health.

District Judge Mitchell adjourned the hearing to October 4 and asked Flower’s lawyer to update the court on the “prognosis and diagnosis” of the defendant.

He added: “A person must be before the court before they can be dealt with. He has to appear here at some point.”

Flowers is accused of fraud by abuse of position.

The full charge against Flowers listed in court reads: “Between 28/6/16 and 28/10/17 at Salford committed fraud in that while occupying a position, namely Enduring Power of Attorney, in which you were expected to safeguard, or not act against the financial interests of Margaret Mary Jarvis, you dishonestly abused that position intending thereby to make a gain, namely staircase, carpets and 11 cheques paid to the defendant, for yourself, contrary to Sections 1 and 4 of the Fraud Act 2006.”

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