Football manager cleared of fraud

Football - Debenham v Wroxham - Mel Aldis

Football - Debenham v Wroxham - Mel Aldis

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A TOP non-league football manager has been cleared of committing fraud with his wife’s credit card.

Melvyn Aldis, of Eye Road, Kenton, denied running up a bill of £16,000 on his wife’s card behind her back throughout his trial at Ipswich Crown Court.

On Tuesday, after six days of evidence and legal submissions, a jury found Mr Aldis, 51, not guilty and he was free to leave the dock.

The prosecution alleged that he racked up the bill on his wife’s card over a 10 month period without her knowledge. But Mr Aldis, who at the time was manager of Debenham Leisure Centre, told the court that his wife, referred to in the hearing as Zoe Knowland, had been heavily in debt when they met and she was aware of him using the card.

Giving evidence, Mr Aldis – once manager of Stowmarket Town Football Club before taking charge at Framlingham – said that by using the Lloyds TSB credit card, he and his wife had managed to survive during a difficult financial time, to retain their home and pay essential bills.

He said he used the card to obtain ‘cashback’ from Debenham Leisure Centre and to make online payments and phone payments for the couple’s mortgage, which was in arrears, and bills including water, oil and car tax. Some of the cash went towards meeting minimum monthly payment on the credit card.

Mr Aldis said his wife had known about all but a few of the transactions but had denied knowledge to maintain a relationship with her mother.

The jury heard claims by Miss Knowland that she had only discovered the extent of the debt when she was contacted by the bank and told she had missed making a minimum payment. Until then she said she had believed the card to be £18 in credit.

Mr Aldis had pleaded not guilty to fraud by false representation between January and October 2010.