A British Army officer, who was awarded an MBE for his charity work, has been found guilty of defrauding the military out of nearly £13,000 to send his children to one of the country's most expensive boarding schools.
Royal Engineer Major Lloyd Hamilton misused thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money to pay for their education while he was stationed abroad.
The father of two, who was based in Cyprus at the time, was only eligible to claim the allowances as long as his wife Liz was living with him.
However, following a breakdown in their marriage, she had remained in Hamble, Hampshire.
The 47-year-old was cleared of a second count of fraud relating to more than £25,000, after the court heard evidence that he made the claims while he still believed his marriage would survive and his wife would eventually join him in the Mediterranean.
Maj Hamilton sent his wife texts saying he knew he was being investigated for fraudulently claiming a total of £38,892 worth of fees to send his two children to Queen Elthelburga’s Collegiate in Yorkshire.
The average salary for a Major in the British Army is around £54,000, according to the Ministry of Defence.
Bulford Military Court heard that Maj Hamilton was based at RAF Akrotiri for more than 12 months between 1 July 2017 and 1 August 2018.
A panel found him not guilty of one charge of fraudulently claiming £25,964 between July 2017 and January 2018.
However, they found him guilty of fraudulently claiming £12,964 between January and August 2018 when he knew his wife would not be coming to live with him.
Throughout the 12-month period, there were difficulties in the couple's relationship, and Maj Hamilton told his wife he thought it was best if she remained in the UK.
Over the course of the trial, the court heard he told friends he 'didn't want to continue walking blindly through life' just for the children and wanted a divorce.
Prosecutors also said trips made to Cyprus by Mrs Hamilton were taken just to maintain the 'facade' that they were still together.
In early 2018, Maj Hamilton sent messages to his wife telling her he suspected his continuity of education allowance (CEA) claims for thousands of pounds were being questioned.
In one text, he said: "So there are a lot of indications that work are looking into why you are not here… if this leads to me being investigated I will be... fuming."
Prosecuting, Commander Peter Barker said: "The allegation was that having submitted a claim for CEA he failed to disclose information he was under a duty to disclose and that information was that was his wife, Mrs Hamilton, was not living with him in the service family accommodation in Cyprus.
"In this case, the Crown says over the entire period of the charges, a period of 397 days, the allegation was that Mrs Hamilton was not living at the work address.
"In fact, she only spent 99 days in Cyprus, 25% of that time.
"The Crown says that the marriage was in substantial difficulties and then broke down irretrievably."
Maj Hamilton is one of the founding members of Toe in the Water, a tri-service charity that uses competitive sailing to re-inspire injured servicemen and women to see beyond their injuries.
Following the guilty verdict, Maj Hamilton will be sentenced at Bulford Military Court at a later date.
Cover image: Major Lloyd Hamilton arriving at Bulford Military Court (Picture: Solent News and Photo Agency).