Wife and children cry in court as Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning owner is jailed for fraud

A CHELTENHAM Gold Cup-winning owner’s family broke down in tears as he was jailed for two years for fraud.

Conor Clarkson, 60, was proud owner of Kicking King when he won racing’s most prestigious prize under iconic jockey Barry Geraghty in 2005.

PA:Press AssociationClarkson, centre, seen here after winning the 2005 Cheltenham Gold Cup, has been jailed for two years for fraud[/caption]

The heroic chaser won over £800,000 in his career but Clarkson will go behind bars after being convicted of fraud, namely forging documents to pay off a bank debt.

Irishman Clarkson was found guilty of four charges of creating and using forged documents after an eight-day trial in Wicklow, Ireland, earlier this month.

The married father of three was acquitted of four other charges.

Clarkson was convicted of forging the signature of Jean Duggan, a woman who lived nearby land involved in a sale Clarkson was trying to push through, on a fake death certificate.

Detective Sergeant Donal O’Sullivan said the documents required to be signed by Ms Duggan were needed for the 2014 property deal to go through.

Ms Duggan, who was described as a ‘vulnerable widow’, reported in August 2020 her belief that her signatured had been forged.

Incredibly, her family discovered the forged documents in a nearby property after a tree fell through the building during a storm.

Clarkson denied any involvement when he provided a voluntary statement to police after his arrest.

Sean Gillane, counsel for Clarkson, said his client was a ‘well-regarded individual and relatively successful businessman’.

The court Clarkson had bought the property in question for somewhere between €4-5m (£3-4m) but had sold it to a Cork businessman for around £1.4m.

Mr Gillane said being remanded in custody following the trial had been ‘a shocking experience’ for Clarkson.

Judge Patrick Quinn sentenced Clarkson to two years in prison with the final nine months suspended.

The judge said the fraud offence would have gone undetected had it not been for a ‘chance encounter’ after the tree fell.

The Irish Mirror reported that Clarkson’s wife Dympha and the couple’s three children ‘cried openly’ as the sentence was handed down.

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