Kidnapper returns to court over fraud row
Jul 14 2009 The Journal
THE owner of a Nazi chalice who was jailed in a bizarre kidnap and blackmail plot seven years ago has been back before the courts again.
Derick Smith sparked national headlines when he was at the centre of a blackmail plot involving the 12in silver chalice thought to have belonged to Hermann Goering.
He was jailed after Newcastle Crown Court heard how he had kidnapped a former friend’s boxer dog after she refused to return the chalice given to her in payment for an alleged £40,000 debt.
Smith – who was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment later reduced to six weeks on appeal – was legally established as the owner of the 12in relic after civil proceedings.
But yesterday he was back before the courts for fraud after dishonestly cashing two cheques.
Smith, 58, had known South Tyneside interior designer Lesley Shaw since childhood but lost touch until they bumped into each in the summer of 2007, the court heard.
He later moved into her home as a lodger, carrying out household tasks and errands on behalf of her business, said Tom Moran, prosecuting.
But in May last year, Ms Shaw discovered Smith had paid himself £335 by forging two of her cheques.
Smith, of Elliot Street, Sacriston, County Durham, admitted fraud and was ordered to pay back the £335 and fined £250 after Judge Richard Lowden described it as a “mean” offence.