Ex-Premier League player 'used stolen card' to gamble £16,000 at casino


A former Premier League footballer gambled £16,000 at a Mayfair casino using a card stolen from an 85-year-old pensioner, a court has heard.

Ex-West Ham winger Blair Turgott, 23, is accused of withdrawing the cash before exchanging it for chips during a night at the Playboy casino in central London's Park Lane.

Turgott, who made one first-team appearance for the Hammers, in the team's FA Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest in January 2014, cashed out £16,900 at the end of the night, leaving with a £900 profit, a jury was told.

Blair Turgott appeared at Southwark Crown Court (Sean Dempsey/PA)
Blair Turgott appeared at Southwark Crown Court (Sean Dempsey/PA)

Prosecutor Kaj Scarsbrook said the card used by Turgott, who is from Bromley in Kent, had earlier been stolen from Peter Dixon, 85, by another fraudster posing as a bank employee.

The victim said in a statement that the funds withdrawn from his account were intended for his children's inheritance.

"I was initially horrified I had been defrauded and feel foolish at handing my card over," he added.

Turgott, wearing dark trousers and a brown jacket over a white shirt, appeared in the dock at London's Southwark Crown Court, where he denies fraud and converting criminal property on the night of Friday September 30, 2016.

The court heard the victim was called by a fraudster earlier that day posing as a Barclays Bank employee, who said he needed to collect Mr Dixon's debit card so a new one could be issued.

Shortly after, a man in his 20s knocked on his door and Mr Dixon handed over his card.

But Mr Dixon went to his branch the following Monday after his wife, Christine Dixon, 83, became suspicious.

"Their bank told them, perhaps unsurprisingly, this man had absolutely nothing to do with them and had, effectively, stolen the card," the prosecutor said.

Jurors heard about £17,000 was taken from Mr Dixon's current account, with CCTV showing Turgott made two £8,000 withdrawals at the Playboy casino.

"He exchanges that money for casino plaques and spent the evening gambling," said Mr Scarsbrook.

"At the end of the evening, he cashed out £16,900 cash, having made a profit of £900 that evening gambling."

The prosecutor said at least one other person was involved in the alleged fraud, telling jurors they must decide if Turgott was "being dishonest".

He added: "Somehow the card and its details ended up in Mr Turgott's possession.

"The prosecution say that in itself is suspect, as is using someone else's card to fund your gambling."

Turgott rose through the youth ranks at east London club West Ham, with loan spells at clubs including Colchester United and Bradford City.

He left West Ham to join Coventry City, and has more recently played for Leyton Orient and Bromley.

The court heard he has one previous conviction, having pleaded guilty to careless driving in May 2014.

The trial continues.