Diplomat Patsy Robertson’s daughter lost life savings to £200,000 financier fraud

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Maurice Kelly leaving court (Central News)
Maurice Kelly leaving court (Central News)

A financier who swindled the daughter of a celebrated Commonwealth diplomat out of her life savings is facing a prison sentence.

Maurice Kelly, 63, convinced literary translator Sarah Robertson to hand over £212,223 which she believed was for shares in his asset management firm and a property investment.

Ms Robertson is one of three children of prominent activist Patsy Robertson, who served as Director of Information for the Commonwealth Secretariat and was the Commonwealth’s official spokesperson between 1983 and 1994.

She used her influence and campaigning skills to turn the tide against the support by Margaret Thatcher’s government for apartheid in South Africa, becoming a trusted confidente to senior politicians and Royalty.

Kelly, who was the director of Tara Asset Management until it was dissolved in 2019, was charged in December 2020 with the fraud on Ms Robertson and an alleged £1.1 million swindle on her mother.

But following his guilty plea, prosecutors opted not to press ahead with the claims that he had defrauded Mrs Robertson, who died at the age of 86 in August 2020.

Judge Martin Griffith agreed to a probation report on Kelly ahead of sentencing on June 13, but warned him the “serious matters” could end in a prison term.

Kelly admitted fraudulently taking money from Ms Robertson between 27 November 2014 and 23 March 2016, including with a £64,200 payment he assured her was for preferential “A” shares in his asset management firm.

She also handed over £148,023, believing it was to invested in a property in Lowestoft.

“This is sophisticated offending perpetrated over a protracted period of time”, said prosecutor Gareth Munday. “It has had a significant impact on the victim Sarah Robertson, where effectively her life savings have been taken in circumstances where - though we are not proceeding with it - the life savings of her mother have also been lost.”

The charge, left to lie on file, involving Mrs Robertson centred on alleged fraudulent payments for “property schemes” in August and September 2014.

Kelly, of Manchester, admitted two counts of fraud and was freed on bail until sentencing.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting