Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has condemned a former political ally and friend who conned nearly £100,000 out of a Midland homeless charity.
David Cartwright, who served as Redditch Borough Council Leader and represented the town’s Greenlands ward, pleaded guilty to a catalogue of theft and deception charges at Hereford Crown Court last week.
The 52-year-old bought a property in Redditch and enjoyed a holiday in Turkey while his fraudulent activities caused the Step Out Drop In charity to collapse in 2005.
One of his colleagues at the charity was dying of cancer while he lined his pockets and Cartwright even had the cheek to visit her in hospital.
While serving on Redditch Borough Council the disgraced former dignitary became friendly with Ms Smith, the Worcestershire town’s MP.
It is believed he hoped their friendship would further his political career.
But last night Ms Smith said: “I have known Mr Cartwright for many years and I am extremely disappointed.
“Mr Cartwright will have to face the consequences of his actions. Well intentioned or not – people who run charities do not operate outside the law.”
Step Out Drop In trustees Betty Passingham, Sarah Sulley and Pat Wilson have all died since investigations began.
Cartwright refused to admit his crimes for more than two years. But in a hearing at Hereford Crown Court on Tuesday, he admitted stealing £24,000 from Step Out Drop In, and pocketing an additional £37,000 in grants from Redditch Borough Council.
He also pleaded guilty to illegally obtaining more than £21,000 from the Department of Environment, Transport and Regions after he fooled them into paying wages for a member of staff who did not exist.