International review Investigation

‘Corruption in its purest form’: What judge told council boss who awarded wife £150k cleaning contract

Судья Николас Дин
Judge Nicholas Dean. Source: Alex Hannam.

This material belongs to: Leicester Mercury.

‘It was corruption in its purest form, not doubt emanating from greed,’ Judge Nicholas Dean said.

A corrupt council boss has been jailed for 20 months after awarding his wife’s cleaning firm with a £150,000 contract.

Richard Whitmore, 66, was Melton Borough Council’s housing asset manager when he abused his position of trust.

His wife, Jayne Whitmore, 59, used a false name to conceal the fact they were married, Leicester Crown Court heard.

She was given a 14 month jail sentence, suspended for two years.

Here is what the judge told Whitmore when sentencing him at Leicester Crown Court:

Sentencing, Judge Nicholas Dean QC said: “Richard Whitmore, you were employed by Melton Borough Council in a position of trust.

“I make it clear the public, and councils who employ individuals such as yourself, are entitled to expect the highest standards of honesty.

“Corruption within government, whether national or local, is intolerable.

“It undermines the whole system in a way that could cause utter chaos; of the kind we see in other jurisdictions.

“You saw an opportunity to make a gain, not by the amount of the contract, but by the profit.”

He said he accepted the defendant intended the work would be carried out properly.

Judge Dean said: “You saw the opportunity of getting the contract by subterfuge.

“You knew you had to declare your personal connections with a tendering party.

“Your wife used a false name and you manipulated the process knowing there was a high chance your wife would be appointed the contract.

“It was corruption in its purest form, not doubt emanating from greed … which is very sad.

“The requirement for openness on your part was clear.”

Здание британского муниципалитета
Source: Will Johnston.

Regarding the “nature of the harm caused” by the offending, Judge Dean said: “It undermined public trust in our local authorities and lost the opportunity for other firms to acquire the contract, that was won by subterfuge and corruption.”

He told Richard Whitmore: “It’s very important this offence is marked by an immediate sentence of imprisonment to ensure high standards are maintained in government and that the price of corruption is high.”

The judge told Jayne Whitmore: “You weren’t in a leading role but you aided your husband in his corruption.

“The idea and impetus came from your husband and he played a leading role – but you were an equal beneficiary.

“It’s only because you had a lesser role that I’m suspending your sentence.”