‘Abuse of trust has let us all down’

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A close friend of a murdered former soldier whose trust fund was swindled, has described the crime as “disgusting”.

The Tandragee man said the imminent sentencing of David Flannigan “will let everyone see what sort of an individual he is”.

Flannigan (45), from Lurgan Road, Portadown, faces up to 10 years in jail for defrauding more than £250,000 from three victims.

He appeared in Craigavon Crown Court last Friday where he pleaded guilty to three counts of committing fraud by abusing his positions of trust.

According to the indictment, Flannigan swindled £161,370 from the RN Moore Will Trust, £66,800 from Portadown Masonic Recreation Club and £23,508 from Orchard County Travel over a four-year period from January 1, 2010 to May 20, 2014.

The trust was set up by former Tandragee man Raymond Moore for his next of kin in the event of his death.

His friend and fellow former Royal Irish Regiment (RIR) colleague, who doesn’t wish to be named for security reasons, said that when Raymond was killed in Iraq in 2007, his family received money from both the security firm he was working for at the time and from the RIR.

He said, “We believed his financial matters were in safe hands. He (Flannigan) was trusted by the family to sort it out. I still stay in close contact with Raymond’s parents - they lost another son 10 years before that from an epileptic fit - and before the sentencing I will be taking them out for lunch.

“The whole thing has been very difficult. There was a group of us who used to socialise together and we lost a very special friend. Nobody could believe what happened with his will, and with the other victims as well.”

Following Flannigan’s confessions on Friday, a prosecution lawyer asked Judge Patrick Lynch QC to leave seven further charges on the books. These allege that Flannigan transferred, used and possessed criminal property.

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) took a similar stance in relation to Flannigan’s estranged wife, 42-year-old Judy Flannigan, from Kernan Hill Manor, Portadown.

Prosecuting lawyer Nicola Auret told the court that given her husband’s guilty pleas, a view had been taken that “it’s no longer appropriate to proceed” against Mrs Flannigan.

She had faced a single count of possessing £121,357 of criminal property but that was also left on the books.

Flannigan is currently on bail awaiting sentence and will be dealt with on October 27 once the Probation Service has compiled a pre-sentence report.

At a previous hearing for months ago, Flannigan had denied all 10 charges against him.