Teacher Struck Off

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By Alexander Lawrie

A SCOTS primary school teacher who was jailed in 2005 on fraud charges has been struck from the teaching register.

Moira Ewart, 60, was found guilty of stripping the assets of her husband’s aunt after she was given power of attorney over the frail pensioner’s financial affairs.

Ewart and her husband Alexander, 61, were caged for 18 months for the £56,000 scam.

The teacher, from Monikie, Angus, has now been banned from teaching after a General Teaching Tribunal Scotland(GTCS) decision on Tuesday.

Ewart’s name will be removed from the register for 12 months. She has 28 days to appeal the decision.

In March 2005, a jury took over three hours to decide the couple had got Angus Council’s social work department to pay for 78 year-old Jean Ewart’s care at a nursing home when she was not entitled to it.

They were also convicted of passing cheques from Miss Ewart’s account for goods and services she did not benefit from and of selling shares after she had died and the power of attorney had ended.

Forfar Sheriff Court had heard how the late Miss Ewart had granted Moira Ewart power of attorney in November 1998, and the subsequent fraud included the submission of a false statement to Angus Council for assistance in the payment of nursing home fees of over £13,000.

The Ewarts were also convicted of the sale of shares in Glasgow in October 1999, a month after Miss Ewart’s death when the power of attorney had ceased, and of obtaining £29,641 by fraud by inducing employees of the TSB Bank to make payment of cheques for their benefit and not in the interests of Jean Ewart.

The Sheriff expressed his frustration that the explanation for the way the frail OAP’s assets had been used remained a mystery, with both accused declining the chance to give evidence during the lengthy trial.

On Tuesday (20/01) the sub-committee of the GTCS found Ewart’s criminal offences to have material relevance to her fitness to be a teacher in that it constituted a serious and pre-meditated breach of trust.

The sub-committee then decided to direct the Registrar to remove the Ewart’s name from the Teaching Register.

The committee was unanimous in its view that such a pre-meditated breach of trust rendered Ewart unfit to meet the standard expected of a registered teacher. 

The scale of the fraudulent scheme devised and perpetrated by the teacher displayed conduct which is severely at odds with that expected of a member of the teaching profession. 

Last year the couple was threatened with court action by Angus Council over the state of their rubbish-strewn garden.

The council is claiming £16,000 back from the pair after cleaning up their garden.

The property, in an affluent street, was awash with bags of waste, three crumbling caravans, two boats, old cookers, fridges, car batteries, ladders, and building materials.

One neighbour said: “This is a nice, quiet place, but the Ewart property looks like something out of Steptoe and Son – except it’s not funny.

“The Ewarts ignore everything the council says and does and are a law all to themselves.”

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