Lisburn piano teacher kept pupils’ exam fees

A piano teacher admitted defrauding her young pupils.
A piano teacher admitted defrauding her young pupils.

A music teacher who put children through what transpired to be fake piano exams admitted 16 charges of fraud yesterday.

However, instead of being put into the dock at Lisburn Magistrates’ Court, 25-year-old Claire Thompson was not summonsed into the courtroom where the parents of her victims sat waiting in the public gallery, leaving defence lawyer Peter Coiley to tell the court his client was pleading guilty to all the charges she faced.

Thompson, from the Hillsborough Old Road in Lisburn, pleaded guilty to 14 offences of fraud by false representation and two further counts of using a false instrument (document) on dates between January 1 2010 and November 1 2011.

No facts surrounding the case were opened in court yesterday but, from the particulars of the offences, it appears that Thompson put herself forward as being a registered music teacher with the London College of Music and as such entered six different girls for piano exams when, in fact, she was not registered at all and kept the exam fees for herself.

The charges relating to Thompson using a “fake instrument” outline how she used two fake piano Grade Four certificates to dupe two girls into believing they had passed that standard.

District Judge Rosemary Watters adjourned passing sentence until next month when pre-sentence probation reports have been compiled.

As Thompson left the court building she avoided eye contact with her victims’ families and did not respond when one asked if she was “ashamed” of having children as victims of fraud.