Am­bas­sador’s son stole £10k from par­ents to buy drugs

Daily Mail - - News -

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.

‘Over­whelm­ing temp­ta­tion’

Ad­dicted: Ben­jamin Fretwell

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