An obsessed Elvis Presley fan who stole nearly £600,000 of council car parking payments to buy one of the largest collections of the singer’s memorabilia will have her hoard confiscated and auctioned. For nine years Julie Wall, a town hall cashier, amassed rare records, CDs and DVDs of the singer after stealing four tonnes of coins from cash boxes.
The 46-year-old spinster stole £597,963 from her employer, North Kesteven District Council, and then trawled auctions, record fairs and eBay to find scarce examples of Elvis’s music and signed mementoes. Wall, who became infatuated with the singer when she was 12, was jailed for three years for theft in October last year.
Judge William Harbage, QC, the recorder, ordered yesterday that the collection should be auctioned to repay the council. The “mild and modest” employee, who had worked for the council for 30 years, was responsible for counting the coins from cash boxes at the authority’s eight car parks in Sleaford, Lincolnshire.
She repeatedly held back hundreds of pounds from each box and then exchanged the coins for notes used in other council transactions. Wall then hid the money in her handbag and walked out of the council offices at the end of the day. She was caught only after an audit showed that she had been taking up to £10,000 a month. When confronted with the discrepancies and suspended, Wall attempted suicide in a bed-and-breakfast in Skegness.
Wall, from Sleaford, was taken from her cell back to Lincoln Crown Court yesterday for a confiscation hearing. The judge ordered the High Court to appoint a receiver to arrange for the public sale of the collection.
He said: “The collection’s true value will not be known until it is sold. But it will go up for auction and will need to be advertised to attract the best dealers and prices. The benefit figure is agreed at £597,963 and I am satisfied the figure for your realisable assets should be the same.
“Since the loss was incurred by North Kesteven District Council it is entirely appropriate that compensation should be awarded to them in the same figure.”
James Dennison, for the prosecution, said: “There is a vast quantity of, in the main, Elvis Presley memorabilia. There have been valuations, one by the defendant and one by the Crown. Some of the valuations ascribed by Julie Wall were on the low side and some were on the high side. One record was valued at £500 but the dealer put it at five times that.”
After the hearing, a council spokesman said: “We are pleased with the result and will provide every assistance to the receiver when appointed. Until the total amount the council will recoup is both known or realised it is not possible to make plans for the future.”
At the original hearing Sam Robinson, for the prosecution, had said that Wall had been “left to her own devices”, allowing her to falsify the daily car-parking income forms.
“If the machine showed £700 she would fill in the sheet to show £500. The difference would be what she would take.”
Luke Blackburn, for the defence, had said that Wall, who had lived with her parents, began work for the council at the age of 16, days after leaving school. “She is quiet, mild and modest, liked by all who have come into contact with her. The roots of this matter were planted when she was 12, when she liked the music of Elvis Presley and spent her pocket money on his records.
“She became an avid fan — but about nine years ago this developed into an obsession and all of her spare money was going to buy these items.
“She spent little money on anything else, such as clothing. There is not the remotest hint of high living — save for what she spent on memorabilia.”
Source: Google / Updated: Jan 7, 2006