Ex-General Election candidate from Northamptonshire ordered to reimburse rail firm after £890 train ticket fraud

Would-be Spalding developer Richard Garvie, who has been suspended by the Labour Party.
Would-be Spalding developer Richard Garvie, who has been suspended by the Labour Party.

A candidate who was in the running to be a Northamptonshire MP has said appearing in court for defrauding a train company using his empty bank account ‘destroyed his life’.

Richard Garvie, 31, of Rowlett Road, Corby, was yesterday sentenced to 60 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay back all the £895 he owed East Midlands Trains from fraud offences carried out in 2012 plus £339 in other outstanding fines.

Magistrates heard that the 2015 candidate for Wellingborough and Rushden, who was dropped by the Labour Party before the election following his conviction, had been travelling by train between Berkshire - where his then partner and her stepdaughter were living - and a flat in Corby, where he was a senior manager at a Tesco store.

Mr Garvie, defending himself, said he lost everything - including his job - when the case became public knowledge.

He said: “Not only did this destroy my chances of winning the election, I lost my party, which was a massive thing to me, and friends. It destroyed my life.”

The fraud was carried out by Garvie seemingly making payments onboard trains using a debit card that was connected to a closed account.

Because the card readers were not live - payments are all authorised together later in the day - the frauds were not picked up on the spot and, with the conductor oblivious, Garvie was allowed to continue his journeys.

Garvie reiterated his claim yesterday that he was unaware the account was closed and, although he knew what he was doing was morally wrong, had thought he was merely running up a large overdraft.

He therefore believed his bank would honour the payments and so East Midlands Trains would not be denied the money.

Corby Magistrates Court also heard he had assumed the bank would pursue him for the money by means of debt recovery and that he had therefore not been committing a crime.

Probation service records also showed he had outstanding fines for misusing off-peak tickets totalling £339, which he claimed yesterday he had no knowledge of.

Probation officer Dominic Donoghue said Garvie had been ‘burning the candle at both ends’ with regard to work, his long commute, his Labour Party activities and various community group responsibilities.

The probation report concluded he had been making too many ‘spur of the moment’ decisions and not thinking about the consequences of trying to live on his ‘overdraft’.

Magistrates gave him a 12-month community order requiring him to perform 60 hours of unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay back the £1,234 to East Midlands Trains, £400 in prosecution costs and a £60 victim surcharge.