Thursday, 11 May 2017

"Privileged" Ex-Public Schoolboy's Tenfold Prescription Fraud

An ex-public schoolboy, who entertained Savoy hotel guests with his piano recitals, was told to take advantage of his “privileged position” to help kick his drink and drug addiction.

Solicitor’s son Piers Robert Fairweather Edmondson, 33, forged his prescription to obtain ten times the amount of an anti-anxiety drug he became dependent on.

The King’s College graduate was raised by his parents — who spend most of the year in the Cayman Islands - at their £2.75m home in Crabbett Wood, Itchingwood Common Road, Oxted.

On Monday he was sentenced at City of Westminster Magistrates Court after spending nearly four weeks in custody.

Fairweather, who quit the Royal College of Music due to his heavy drinking, pleaded guilty to possessing an article for use in fraud, namely a forged prescription at Boots, St. John’s Hill, Battersea on November 21, last year.

He also pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation at Boots, Victoria two days later and two counts of jumping bail, one of which put him in breach of a conditional discharge.

Fairweather was fined a total of £450, but magistrate Victoria Readman announced that due to time served in custody he would no have to pay a penny.

“Having the two prescriptions on two separate occasions and altered for you to gain more medication than you were entitled to are serious offences,” she told him.

“You are in a very privileged position in that you have a caring and loving family, who support you.

“A lot of young men do not have that support and due to your mother’s assistance there is an opportunity to attend a rehab centre in Derby.

“If you do not want to change yourself then it’s not going to happen. You obviously have enormous talents and are very intelligent so don’t ruin your life.”

Prosecutor Miss Carly Loftus told the court Edmonson initially entered Superdrug in Battersea. “He offered a prescription that had been tampered with for tablets for anxiety.

“A zero had been added to the four to make forty tablets and when this was pointed out he claimed his nephew must have tampered with it.

“He then went to Boots and offered the same prescription, but on this occasion the police were called and he was arrested.”

Edmondson tried a similar scam two days later. “He handed in a prescription, which the pharmacist told him was not legal.

“The defendant said he would return to his doctor friend to complete it, but he had filled-in the details himself.

“He also tried to increase the dose, using a letter from 2013 as proof, but staff received an alert from the NHS warning Edmondson was using forged prescriptions.”

The probation service told the court Edmondson led a “chaotic lifestyle” and had relapsed after recently spending five weeks in a rural rehab centre in Scotland.

He is on a methadone prescription for recovering heroin addicts and also developed a dependence on his anti-epilepsy drug pregabalin. 

Edmondson has been on Employment Support Allowance and his parents also helped pay for various accommodation.

His lawyer Miss Stephanie Panchkowry told the court: “The offences stem from his drug abuse.

“He is a very gifted man and read medicine at King’s College before switching to philosophy and graduating with a 2:1.

“He also played piano in the main foyer of the Savoy.

“He was suffering at the time of the offences and was drinking and using drugs.”  

His father, James Fairweather Edmondson, is a retired solicitor, who specialised in trusts and wills and is head of the Halecat Charitable Trust, based in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Piers attended £35,000-a year The King’s School, Canterbury, whose alumni include Field-Marshal Bernard Montgomery; actor Orlando Bloom; former England cricket captain David Gower and TV chef Antony Worrall Thompson. 

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