Ambassador’s son stole £10k from parents to buy drugs
THE son of a British diplomat stole nearly £10,000 from his parents to fund his crack and heroin addiction.
Benjamin Fretwell, 50, used his 77year-old mother’s bank card to withdraw cash for his £300-a-day habit.
At the time he was living with Mary Fretwell and his 86-year-old father Sir John Fretwell – who was ambassador to France in the 1980s – at their £2.5million apartment in Kensington.
His mother realised £9,484 had been withdrawn from her account over five weeks when her statement arrived.
Fretwell, who spends most of his time abroad as a ski instructor, was arrested last month and appeared in court last week. His lawyer Duncan Jones told West
London magistrates’ court that the theft was an ‘opportunistic act’.
‘He has been addicted to crack cocaine and heroin for ten years and there was an overwhelming temptation when he saw his mother’s bank card,’ he said. ‘His addiction consumed his thoughts and he descended into a £300-a-day habit.’
Fretwell pleaded guilty to stealing the card and fraud by false representation between December 22 and January 30. He has now started a two-month rehab programme at the £10,000-a-month Sanctuary Lodge in Essex.
He was also sentenced to eight weeks in jail, suspended for 12 months, and 200 hours of community work. Mr Jones added that his family did not wish for him to ‘be a drain on public funds’. The court heard that Fretwell plans to sell his flat in Pimlico to repay his parents.
Addicted: Benjamin Fretwell