Cambridge academic jailed for stealing £238K

David Barrowclough tricked Heritage Lottery Fund by applying for money for fake projects

September 24, 2015
Wolfson College, Cambridge

A University of Cambridge academic has been sentenced to six years in prison after being convicted of stealing £238,000 by applying for bogus archaeological projects.

Fraud by David Barrowclough, 48, was discovered only by chance after details of one of his fake projects were delivered to the wrong address.

Barrowclough, of Broad Street, Ely, used the money to pay for his mortgage, premium bonds and a new Alfa Romeo car, the Cambridge News reported.

The Wolfson College fellow and tutor was found guilty yesterday on all but one count after being charged with nine counts of fraud and one of obtaining property by deception.

His fraud came to light after staff at Ely Museum opened a letter outlining £18,500 in funding to Barrowclough for a project that they did not realise existed.

Barrowclough forged letters, issued fake invoices and deployed false names and addresses to trick the Heritage Lottery Fund from 2006 to 2013.

He was struck off as a solicitor in 1997 and sentenced to four years in jail for theft. But Wolfson College was not aware of his prior conviction because Barrowclough had applied by submitting a letter and a CV rather than a standard application, which requires details of previous convictions.

Barrowclough took an undergraduate degree in archaeology and anthropology at Wolfson as a mature student before progressing to a PhD in archaeology. He became a junior research fellow, and then a fellow and tutor at the college.

According to his profile page at Wolfson, his research interests “centre on the social construction of ‘island’ identities which may form in any culturally isolated place”. The site also lists a number of publications on prehistoric England.

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