A thief from Northampton who evaded prosecution for six years after he fled to Thailand has been jailed for two years after handing himself in to police when he landed at Heathrow.
Christopher Pancoust, aged 48, of Harvest Way, Spring Park, Northampton, appeared at Northampton Crown Court after pleading guilty to a conspiracy to steal £96,000 from a Lloyds TSB’s customer account.
The court heard Pancoust worked together with two employees of the Kingsthorpe branch of the bank - Michael Hollis and Daniel Barlone - to alter withdrawal limits and make illegal transfers to siphon off the life savings of a pensioner while he was away on holiday in America.
Lindsey Knott, prosecuting, said Pancoust received the stolen money in his bank account which was then divided up between the two men.
Ms Knott said Hollis was arrested for a different crime on September 25 and, three weeks later, Pancoust withdrew almost £14,000 from in a transaction that showed he was in Thailand.
Analysis of Pancoust’s bank account revealed he also benefited from another £2,0000 of the stolen money, making a total of £16,000.
However, the court heard that Pancoust now had “no available assets” to repay the money.
The court heard that Pancoust returned to the UK earlier this year as he “was feeling guilty” and “wanted to resolve the matter”.
Ms Knott said: “He told officers at Heathrow to arrest him as there was a warrant out for his arrest. However there wasn’t actually a warrant but he was later arrested after he made a number of more efforts to contact police.”
Derek Johashan, mitigating, said his client had found a “new religious outlook” during his time in Thailand and was filled with extreme remorse about what he had done.
Judge Michael Fowler sentenced Pancoust to two years in jail for conspiracy to steal. He is likely to serve half his jail sentence before being released on licence.