IN today's Crime Files we are taking a look back at the story of a rogue trader who avoided jail despite swindling students out of more than £22,000.

Kay Turford of Elite Nail and Beauty Academy was sentenced back in 2017 after admitting to failing to register students with the official specialist awarding body, the Vocational Training Charitable Trust, known as VTCT.

In total Turford took £22,812 from the students (£13,675 from the 11 students and £9,137 in relation to the similar matters).

Turford was a sole trader for Elite Nail and Beauty Academy at 58 Lowesmoor in Worcester although some of the students also made payments to the KI Beauty Salon in Worcester.

On September 30, 2013 Turford was approved as a training centre able to offer NVQ courses up to level two.

However she failed to register students despite taking their money for the course which was supposed to include the registration fee.

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This meant the students could not receive certificates despite completing their courses and therefore could not obtain insurance for the purposes of employment in the industry.

She was suspended by the VTCT on February 13, 2015 and prohibited from registering any more students because she had failed to pay the body the registration fees.

Turford also claimed Elite was taken over by the Weston Spencer Group in 2015, a company the court was told had since gone into liquidation. She claimed she mistakenly thought it was Weston’s responsibility to register students.

However, judge Nicholas Cole said there was no evidence such a takeover had ever taken place.

Mr Munro said when students confronted Turford they were simply ‘fobbed off’.

One asked for a refund and was ‘ignored’ and for her portfolio to be returned which was refused. Some students took out loans to pay for the course.

Clare Fear, defending, said Turford was a woman of previous good character.

She stressed Turford did not set up the enterprise with the intention of relieving the students of their money and that her actions were reckless rather than dishonest, believing matters would ‘right themselves’.

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Judge Nicholas Cole said he could not compensate the victims until further investigations had been carried out.

He added: “It seems possible and indeed likely that those who suffered financial loss will not receive any recompense from you.”

Judge Cole sentenced her to 12 months in prison, concurrent on all 11 counts but suspended the sentence for two years.

Turford was also ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.

Later in 2017, her victims found out they were "unlikely" to ever get compensation after the court was told Turford only had assets of £1.

Worcestershire Regulatory Services said an investigation had shown Turford had no assets and no application would be made for a compensation order at this stage.

Recorder Nicholas Jones ordered Turford to pay £1 under the Proceeds of Crime Act or face one day in prison. She was given 14 days to pay and was also ordered to pay £100 victim surcharge within three months.