Scapegoat claim by accused

3011035 SSHC clayton caravans 'ad feature - exterior at Clayton caravan site, Dairsie
3011035 SSHC clayton caravans 'ad feature - exterior at Clayton caravan site, Dairsie

A CARAVAN park manager covered up his boss’s attempts to ‘‘cook the books’’ even after he’d been fired because he loved his job and hoped the whole thing would just go away, a jury has heard.

Kevin O’Neill, former manager of Clayton Caravan Park, near Dairsie, was giving evidence at his trial for embezzlement, which is due to conclude today (Friday).

The 63-year-old denies 14 charges of embezzling sums ranging from £800 to £12,000 between June 2008 and March 2010, totalling £63,348.

The jury of seven women and eight men are likely to deliver their verdict today following proceedings that have lasted almost two weeks.

O’Neill, of 7 Shepherd Street, Kirkcaldy, told the court that he had carried out false transactions on the instructions of the site owner, Colin Kennedy, and afterwards gave him details of the fake invoices so that he could ‘fix the books.’

SCAPEGOAT

Even when customers’ money went missing and he got the blame, he took out a loan of £10,000 to repay it rather than expose his boss’s activities, he said.

When asked by depute fiscal Brian Robertson why he would do that, he said: “It was a job I loved and I was being paid good money.

“I accepted the false allegations to protect Mr Kennedy. He kept saying he would sort things out, but he never did.

‘‘I didn’t think it would come to this. I just wanted to walk away from it all and for it all to go away.”

O’Neill told the court that he didn’t even tell his wife what was going on and it was only after the appeal hearing following his sacking that he finally went to a lawyer and told the truth.

He claimed Mr Kennedy was avoiding him, and he realised that he wasn’t going to stand up for him.

In hindsight, he saw that he was being used as a ‘‘scapegoat.’’

Denying that he had embezzled any money, O’Neill alleged that Mr Kennedy had lied in court to ‘‘save his own skin’’ as he was ‘‘well-known in St Andrews.’’