Thompson admits 16 fraud charges

A Lisburn music teacher who put children through fake piano exams has admitted 16 charges of fraud.

Claire Thompson (25) appeared at Lisburn Magistrates’ Court on January 16 to face the parents of her victims who sat in the public gallery.

However, the young woman was not put into the dock or summoned to the courtroom, and instead left her defence lawyer Peter Coiley to tell the court his client was pleading guilty to all the charges she faced.

Thompson, from Hillsborough Old Road in Lisburn, pleaded guilty to 14 offences of fraud by false representation and two further counts of using a false instrument between January 1, 2010 and November 1, 2011.

No facts surrounding the case were opened in court, but from the particulars of the offences, it appears that Thompson put herself forward as being a registered music teacher with the London College of Music and, as such, entered six different girls for piano exams when in fact she was not registered at all, and kept the exams fees for herself.

The charges relating to Thompson using a “fake instrument” outline how she used two fake piano Grade Four certificates to dupe girls into believing they had passed that standard.

District Judge Rosemary Watters adjourned passing sentence until next month when pre-sentence probation reports have been compiled.

Thompson was present in the courthouse, but stayed away from the courtroom where her case was heard.

As Thompson left the courthouse, she avoided eye contact with her victims’ families.

She did not respond when one asked if she was “ashamed” of having children as victims of fraud.