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Jury begins deliberations in trial of Fakenham man accused of laundering thousands of pounds from employer

PUBLISHED: 19:56 29 March 2017 | UPDATED: 08:36 30 March 2017

King's Lynn Magistrates' Court. Picture: IAN BURT

King's Lynn Magistrates' Court. Picture: IAN BURT

Archant © 2011

A man accused of laundering thousands of pounds stolen from his employer claimed he was deceived by his wife who, he claimed, told him she had earned the cash from commission work and had been saving the money for Christmas.

Jamie Baxter, 27, from Fakenham, allegedly splashed out £2500, taken from South Raynham swimming pool supplier Wensum Pools, within a period of six weeks between September and November 2015.

His purchases, a jury heard, included two TVs, a car and tickets to a Real Madrid match.

But Jamie Baxter denied the offence. He claimed his wife, 42-year-old Paula Baxter, controlled their finances - including their joint account.

He is on trial at King’s Lynn Crown Court charged with stealing pool liner and laundering thousands of pounds from the firm.

Referring to the “lifestyle purchases”, David Wilson, prosecuting, said the accused should have known or suspected the money in their joint account was stolen. But he added: “He (Mr Baxter) tolerated it because he was benefiting from it.”

Mr Wilson also claimed Jamie Baxter lied about seeking permission to take the pool liner from owner Andrea Morrison “to cover up the theft”.

Hilary O’Keefe, defending, said Jamie Baxter had spoken to Wensum Pools director Tristan Dacre to take an off-cut of the pool liner, during an open day before he was employed with the company.

Ms O’Keefe said there was a period of five months between the open day and Jamie Baxter’s dismissal from the company where no reports of theft were made by Wensum Pools, adding that it was “logical” for Mr Dacre to tell the defendant he can take the liner if it is of no use to the business.

Ms O’Keefe argued that Paula Baxter “deceived a number of people including Jamie Baxter”.

She added: “He had no reason to disbelieve her. He genuinely had no idea that the account was being used in this way.”

The court heard Paula Baxter admitted to theft and fraud charges at an earlier hearing.

The jury retired to consider their verdict at 12.30pm on Wednesday and hadn’t reached a verdict by 4pm when they were sent home for the night. The case is expected to be recalled on Thursday.

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