Expert tells hearing of phone calls by colonel
THE wife of an Army colonel accused of claiming nearly £100,000 in allowances to send his children to one of the leading public schools in the West spent more time at her family home than in military accommodation, a telecommunications expert told a court martial yesterday.
Peter Brown analysed the outgoing data of the mobile phones of Colonel Roddy Lee and his wife Juliet to see whether they were near their home in Devizes, Wiltshire, or close to RAF Odiham in Hampshire when the devices were used.
Mr Brown said the most regular location for Colonel Lee’s device to connect with a phone mast was in the Devizes area, with 16 per cent of data, while a mast near the RAF base was second with 13 per cent. Meanwhile, an examination of junior doctor Mrs Lee’s phone showed that 31 per cent of outgoing voice and text messages were made in the Devizes area.
The second most popular location was in the Salisbury area, where she worked, with 6 per cent. The RAF Odiham area was 3.5 per cent.
“We don’t know from the data records who had the phone and neither does it tell us the precise location where the phone was,” Mr Brown told the court martial in Bulford, Wiltshire.
“All we can say is that it was in the area of a cell site which may be in the vicinity of an address.”
The court heard the communications company that produced the information about Colonel Lee’s phone did not supply any GPRS data – logged when the device connects to the internet – or details of incoming calls.
Mr Brown explained he also attempted to plot the locations of where the last piece of data each day was made and the first of the following day – to try to guess where Colonel Lee may have slept overnight.
“With the limited number of calls available for examination it struck me that, in my opinion, it was fairly evenly balanced in between Devizes and Odiham in the overall period,” he said.
Having done the same analysis for Mrs Lee, the expert said: “I think I added it up correctly there were 93 days and nights at the West Lavington site and 15 occasions when it was in Odiham.”
Under cross-examination, Mr Brown accepted that without the incoming call data there was an “incomplete picture”.
“It limits, perhaps, conclusions that one might draw,” he said.
He also said that if the phone was switched off it would not generate any data.
“I have assumed if the phone was there in the evening it probably stayed overnight and was there in the morning. It is an assumption,” he said.
Fiona Edington, representing Colonel Lee, asked Mr Brown whether he had made a distinction in his report between Colonel Lee being at RAF Odiham during the week and at Devizes at weekends.
“I have not differentiated between the working day and the weekend,” he said.
Miss Edington asked: “Is it fair to say that the absence of incoming call data and the landline data means the conclusions are limited?”
Mr Brown replied: “They are limited to the data we have.”
To receive the Army’s continuity of education allowance Mrs Lee had to live with her husband in his service accommodation but prosecutors allege she in fact lived at their Wiltshire property.
During the academic year 2015/16, Colonel Lee claimed £98,306.80 in fees to send his two elder children to Marlborough College and his two youngest children to prep schools in Wiltshire and Dorset. The allowance enables service personnel to send their children to boarding school to prevent disruption to schooling caused by postings around the UK and abroad.
Colonel Lee, formerly of the Royal Artillery, denies three charges of fraud alleged to have occurred between May 2015 and October 2016.
Colonel Roddy Lee