A FORMER charity boss who plundered funds to finance a luxury lifestyle has been handed a judgement for almost £1million.

Cotswold Water Park Society took civil action in the High Court against Dennis Grant after his crimes were uncovered and has now been given judgement for £998,000, said his barrister Douglas Page.

The judgement means the charity now has legal rights over Grant's assets, including a Cyprus holiday home, and can dispose of them to raise the amount he owes.

Grant, who is serving a four year, four month jail sentence in Leyhill Open Prison near Wotton under Edge, should have attended Gloucester crown court today for a confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

But he did not make the journey because 'there is some problem with his physical health involving his leg,' Mr Page told the court.

The hearing was adjourned until the week of January 9 when Grant must attend, said Recorder Malcolm Gibney.

It is understood Grant could not be brought to court in a conventional prison van because of the disability he has developed and there was no alternative transport available in time.

It was during today's hearing in Grant's absence that Mr Page revealed that a £998,000 judgement in favour of the Society had been given by the High Court.

"There are ongoing civil proceedings but an order for £998,000 has been given," he said.

He told the court that the figure assessed by the High Court was likely to be 'far more accurate' than could be done under the Proceeds of Crime Act in the crown court.

The defence expected the High Court ruling to compensate the losers in the case, he added.

Recorder Gibney ordered, however, that the defence must supply the prosecution with a list of seven articles including bank statements which it requires to finalise the confiscation hearing. Mr Page said he was confident that at the next hearing in the week of January 9 the defence and prosecution would be in agreement on the figures.

Mary Harley, prosecuting, said a figure for Grant's benefit from crime had already been virtually agreed.

The only outstanding issue would then be the amount of the confiscation order but that would be affected by the High Court judgement.

Valuation was still pending on some of Grant's assets, particularly his Northern Cyprus holiday home which has not been valued for two years, she said.

At an earlier hearing the court was told Grant's realisable assets also include two houses in the UK and two cars.

Grant, 63, of Upper Tadmarton, near Banbury, Oxon, was jailed in July after he admitted he stole about £700,000 of the Water Park Society's funds.

The cars he bought with stolen money included a £62,000 Aston Martin Vantage as well as a Jeep 4X4.

His frauds went on undetected for two and a half years - until one of his staff, Tasha Flaherty, realised what was going on and confronted him about a £100,000 payment which had been paid to the society but had to be refunded.

She could not find where the payment had gone and bravely tackled Grant face-to-face about it.

He tried to put 38-year-old operations director Tasha off the scent but she badgered him for three days until he confessed what he had done.

Police were called and Grant candidly admitted to detectives that his campaign of fraud had been down to greed.