Surgeon jailed for £180,000 burglary scam was 007-wannabe who regularly cheated

Dr Anthony McGrath, 34, (pictured in an undated photo) had a string of affairs, sometimes while posing as an Irish 007

A Maserati-driving surgeon jailed for a £180,000 burglary scam has been revealed as a 007 wannabee who called himself ‘Paddy Bond’ as he had a string of affairs behind his GP wife’s back.

Dr Anthony McGrath, 34, even pursued one woman when he and his wife Anne Marie, 44, were trying for a baby – and he only told her when the issue came up in court, prompting her to burst into tears.

McGrath, who was born in Ireland, admitted to not knowing the number of women he had cheated with and tried to excuse his betrayal by suggesting he was ‘starved of love’ at home, The Sun reported.

The love rat, who was jailed for 8 years yesterday afternoon after being found guilty of insurance and mortgage fraud, swapped 13,500 texts with one mistress over just 12 months between 2013 and 2014.

McGrath boasted about his sexual prowess to friends, saying he was excited about ‘batting the otter’ – a bizarre reference to sex.

His wife had begun to suspect adultery, and when he announced he was going to a conference in Swansea on February 14, 2014, she replied: ‘What is the exact name of the course and the location so I can look it up and verify that you are genuinely up a course rather than heading off on some Valentine bonk with another.’

The texts also throw light on the couple’s dire financial situation, and how he spoke about faking a break-in. His wife initially faced the same charges and him but was cleared on all accounts.

In 2015, the couple’s financial situation was so bad Mrs McGrath accused her husband of stealing her iPad from an open car in 2015.

McGrath asked her to call the police but she said: ‘If you wish to manufacture a robbery you do so, but you don’t lie to me.

‘If you bring the police to the house I’ll say I believe it was you unless you tell me the truth and return the iPad.’

When McGrath told her to tell police in case the burglar returned she replied: ‘No second hit unless you are planning a massive burglary in all your finery.

‘You want to generate an insurance scam. I will tell on you. I will tell. Tell-tale tit. Unless you return my iPad.’

McGrath and his GP wife Anne-Louise McGrath were in debt to the tune of thousands of pounds when the husband decided to make a fake burglary report to police. They are both seen in undated photos outside Luton Crown Court

The gadget was actually taken in a genuine raid on their £2,400-a-month rented cottage on the grounds of the Luton Hoo estate.

But in April that same year, McGrath made a fake report to police that their house had been burgled and valuable antiques stolen.

He claimed more than £180,000, saying property stolen from the cellar included expensive antiques and furniture, jewellery, silverware, artwork, Ming vases, oriental rugs and crystalware.

‘This is a very sorry tale of a very talented Mr McGrath. Through your talents, you rose to be a successful orthopaedic surgeon and fell, through greed and arrogance, to where you sit today.’

The judge said the fraudulent mortgage applications made by the consultant to secure three mortgages worth more than a million pounds on two properties demonstrated ‘breath-taking brazenness’ with the forged and false documents he had produced.

‘Your dishonesty knows no limits because, even after you gained financial assistance, you still needed more money and that led you to make a fraudulent claim for a burglary.

‘Because of your arrogance, you didn’t think an insurance company or the police would question a man of your standing,’ she said.

McGrath wasn’t in the dock to hear the number of years he must serve behind bars. Halfway through the sentencing, he shouted at the judge ‘You suppressed the information. You have abused your power as a judge.’

McGrath said the jury had not heard the truth and went on: ‘You talk to me as if I am a child. Shame on you.’

McGrath submitted fake photos of items he claimed to have owned.  This 19th century Rococo red marble fireplace worth £30,000 (left) had actually been removed from the house years earlier. He had never owned this clock, but found the photo elsewhere

Two earrings (left) and a ring (right) that McGrath claimed to have owned when he submitted the fake insurance claim. As with the other objects, he had found the photos elsewhere

He then told Judge Mensah ‘You are an abusive, racist and terrible person. Shame on you for suppressing the truth.’

The £1.1million home he bought through his fraudulent mortgage applications has been found to have structural faults, meaning it can’t be sold.

Before sentence was passed today, the court was told that McGrath will never be able to practice again and his career is now ruined.

McGrath, who was raised in a Georgian manor house, hoped the scam would help him raise the funds he needed to renovate the couple’s new £1.1 million home they had bought in St Albans, Hertfordshire.

But as police investigated the ‘break-in’ at the rented cottage called The Garden Bothy in the grounds of Luton Hoo, a former Bedfordshire stately home where the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh had stayed during their honeymoon, they became suspicious.

They discovered the extent of the consultant’s debts and, and as they looked closer into his financial affairs, found he had made a series of false claims about his and Mrs McGrath’s earnings in respect of three mortgage applications.

At the end of a four month trial at Luton crown court, which is reckoned to have cost the taxpayer more than half a million pounds, McGrath was found guilty of four counts of an insurance scam fraud, perverting the course of public justice, and three charges of mortgage fraud.

Mrs McGrath was cleared by the jury of being involved in the three mortgage frauds with her husband and also of retaining items of jewellery her husband was claiming for and selling at auctioneers Bonhams a pair of earrings.

She had told the court that with young children to care for and an ailing mother, so had left much of the family’s financial affairs to her husband.

And she said he had assured her that the jewellery she had wanted to sell to raise funds was not part of any insurance claim he had made.

In the months leading up to the fictitious burglary in April of 2015, the Irish couple with four children aged between 4 and 14 were desperately trying to stay financially afloat.

They earned good salaries. She was a respected GP and he was an orthopaedic surgeon at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore earning around £84,000 a year.

They had to pay £2,400 a month to rent The Garden Bothy, built in the 1800s and once used in an episode of Inspector Morse.

Then, they had mortgage repayments of £2,400 for their new seven bedroom detached home in leafy Clarence Road, St Albans, which they couldn’t even live in because of costly refurbishment work that was being carried out.

This was the cottage where the couple lived called The Garden Bothy in the grounds of Luton Hoo, a former Bedfordshire stately home

This is the £1.1 million home in St Albans the couple had bought and were trying to raise money to renovate

McGrath lived lived in a 200-year-old Georgian stately home called Somerville House in Co Meath, bought by his late father Joseph McGrath who was also an orthopaedic surgeon

Worries about school fees for their children and bank cards being declined at supermarket tills were placing a heavy strain on the couple’s relationship.

He had even told the owner of one antique business that he was helping to fund a child refuge in Syria, saying he had already transferred £74,000, but investigations revealed no money had been sent.

Trial prosecutor Charlene Sumnall told the jury of three women and nine men at Luton Crown Court: ‘This was all a lie. Anthony McGrath was trying to raise as much money as possible in early 2015, not for the children of Syria, but to alleviate the significant financial pressure facing him and his wife.’

Despite the money troubles, Anthony McGrath spent £50,000 on a Maserati, later telling the police he was ‘not particularly good with money.’

He lived in a 200-year-old Georgian stately home called Somerville House in Co Meath, bought by his late father Joseph McGrath who was also an orthopaedic surgeon.

The father had a passion for antiques and, as a young boy, McGrath developed the same passion, becoming extremely knowledgeable about arts and antiques.

Then, with Anne-Louise remaining at their home in Aberdeen and working as a GP, McGrath moved south to England to work in a hospital in Southampton.

McGrath worked at a number of hospitals before he went to work at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, north-west London.

Anne-Louise was a self-employed GP, but the jury was told that at the time of the fraud she was not working much because she was caring for the children and her elderly mother.

Three mortgage applications were submitted by the husband to Lloyds Bank between 2012 and 2015 supported by forged documentation in relation to his and his wife’s earnings.

A forged ‘employment and income reference’ purportedly sent from the HR department of a hospital in Southampton where McGrath was working during 2012 had inflated his earnings by nearly £10,000.

Documents supposedly prepared by accountants contained a false ‘projection’ that Mrs McGrath’s income for the year to March 2013 would be in the region of £95,000.

At the time, Anne-Louise was caring for their three children and an ailing mother and hardly working. She had declared her income for the same period as £0.

Sets of fake accounts showing bogus and inflated figures for the couple’s earnings were also submitted to the bank as part of the applications.

The prosecution told how another letter from a finance company which had offered the wife employment as a medical officer on a day rate of £500 a day, also contained a forged signature.

One off payments to McGrath that showed up in his bank statements for items including antiques that he had sold, he tried to pass off as being part of his salary.

A photo of silver teapots  that McGrath falsely claimed had been stolen from his cottage. As with all the photos, they had been copied from elsewhere

As a result of his deceptions a mortgage for £825,000 and then a further mortgage for £135,000 was raised on their house in St Albans.

A further £85,000 buy-to-let mortgage was then obtained on a previously un-mortgaged property in Somerton Close, Belfast.

With the £1.1 million house in Clarence Road, St Albans, McGrath thought that if he set about renovating it he could double its worth

But their monthly financial commitments and soaring building costs meant they were struggling to find the money for the restoration which was moving slowly.

On the evening of April 15, 2015, Anthony McGrath rang Bedfordshire police and reported there had been a burglary at The Garden Bothy.

He claimed a large quantity of antiques, furniture, rugs, paintings and silverware 19th century clocks had been stolen from the cellar where they were being stored ready for the move to St Albans.

He said 25 large Tupperware boxes in which he kept the cherished family heirlooms, including Ming vases, silverware and cutlery, had been taken.

The doctor said also taken from the cellar by the burglars was a 19th century Rococo fireplace worth in the region of £30,000.

Entry had been gained by a window being broken in the kitchen, but surprisingly there were no forensic clues.

When police examined the old sash window they could see a bottom left hand pane had been smashed leaving jagged glass.

It was quickly realised it would have been impossible for someone to reach through from the outside and then undo the catch higher up without leaving behind fibres and marks.

He was strangely reluctant for publicity about the break-in and he didn’t want the police to take his case to Crimewatch.

The doctor was keen that police officers and loss adjusters from the insurance company should not talk to his wife, claiming she was suffering from post-natal depression, which was untrue.

He was slow in coming up with a definitive list of what had been taken and detailed description of the items.

Then, in July of 2015 following a request by the police for details and descriptions of the items, Detective Constable Dave Brecknock received photographs from him.

Three photos received by the detective were of a £30,000 marble fireplace Dr McGrath said had been stolen in the burglary three months earlier.

With the other photos, DC Brecknock said he could tell they were images copied from previously taken photos.

But the fireplace photos were different, he said, telling the court: ‘It sticks out. That is an image of the real thing, the real fireplace in situ in a building.’

The officer said that the data accompanying each of the three photos gave the date they were taken in the July and the latitude and longitude information pinpointed the location as Somerville House in Co Meath, the McGrath family home.

‘These were images as far as I was concerned of the stolen fireplace, so how can my victim send me pictures of his stolen fireplace,’ the officer told the jury.

The police also found out that after the ‘break-in’ the surgeon had driven a hired van to his family’s home in Ireland.

When Bedfordshire Police The Garda went to Somerville House on November 26, 2015 they found a red 19th-century Rococo fireplace that had been reported stolen in the burglary.

In fact, the antique fireplace had been bought around 2010 and installed then in the drawing room of Somerville House.

Ms Sumnall said: ‘We are all brought up to believe what doctors tell us, but they hid behind the veneer of their status.’

She said McGrath earned £84,074.40 in the year 2012 to 2013 – ‘a nice sum, but not enough for this family.’

A photo of a chandelier that McGrath submitted with his insurance claim despite never having owned it

Mrs McGrath was not consistently working, and reported earning £0 from self-employment in that period.

The prosecutor said the reason McGrath embarked on this course of conduct was motivated by their desperate need for money.

Their overdraft was in tens of thousands of pounds, there was no reigning in on spending and the refurbishing of Clarence Road was spiralling out of control. They continued spending on antiques, cars, school fees and the like.

‘Despite their debts, he decided to buy a £50,000 Maserati – when asked about it by police, he said he was not very good with money – something of an understatement,’ said the prosecutor.

On the day of the ‘burglary,’ 13 members of a conservation group called The Walled Garden Society had visited the Luton Hoo Estate to restore the walled garden, which is next to The Bothy.

The prosecutor said: ‘The presence of over a dozen people in the open next to The Bothy make it strikingly unlikely that a team of professional burglars would have chosen to break in,’ she said.

‘McGrath listed 95 items that he claimed had been stolen during the burglary, describing most in some detail. The total value of these items was £182,612.50.’

McGrath pleaded not guilty to fraud with his dishonest claim to Lloyd’s Banking Group Insurance that his home had been broken into and perverting the course of public justice by making a false statement about it to the police.

Mrs McGrath pleaded not guilty to three counts of fraud relating to her failure to tell the insurance company she was still in possession of a pair of sapphire earrings and a diamond and sapphire ring and causing the earrings to be sold at auction at Bonhams.

Finally the couple jointly pleaded not guilty to three counts of fraud relating to three mortgage applications in which they had lied about their incomes.

Judge Mensah thanked the jury for their service, having sat on the trial for 4 months when they had been told it would last only 8 weeks.

The cost of the trial, and the previous trial when a jury could not agree on charges against McGrath, is estimated to have cost more than half a million pounds

Judge Mensah told the jury that because of the length of the trial they would be excused jury service for the next 10 years.

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Post time: Mar-29-2019