A millionaire who avoided paying a penny of child support has failed to convince judges that he should be freed from prison – to care for his children.
Stephen David England, 32, of Barnstaple Road, Southend, was jailed for 12 months by Judge Ian Graham at Basildon Crown Court in January, after he was found guilty of two counts of fraud.
This week, three senior judges at London’s Criminal Appeal Court threw out an application to have Mr England’s sentence suspended, rejecting “ironic” claims Mr England should be freed as he is now the main carer of his children.
Before he was given a custodial sentence, Stephen David England refused to pay child maintenance despite £1.3 million passing through his bank account.
He told the Child Support Agency he was earning between nothing and £18-a-week, despite enjoying the lifestyle of an affluent businessman, while his children, aged eight, ten and 11, endured poverty.
Judge Bourne-Arton said:
“That was far from the truth. The reality was, he was running a pub and also had a motor trade business,”
Judge Graham was particularly forthright in his judgement: “Your children were living in deprived circumstances.
They were missing out on many things because of your harsh attitude towards their mother and your refusal to pay what you should have been paying in maintenance to your own young children.
“Instead, what you were doing was living the life of an affluent businessman. You were buying Rolex watches; you had £1.3 million moving through your bank account in the period of some three years.”
Mr England’s barrister, Jacqueline Carey, argued that his sentence should be suspended in light of the caring role he has for his children.
Lord Justice Treacy said the court saw the “irony” in England previously withholding child maintenance payments and now putting forward his children’s needs as a basis for his release.
Judge Bourne-Arton concluded: “We do not consider the sentence was in any way excessive and there are no grounds for a suspended sentence. The appeal is dismissed.”