THE trial of the former chief executive of the Butterwick Hospice is expected to start today.

Graham Leggatt-Chidgey, who arrived at Teesside Crown Court this morning, faces charges of fraud and theft in connection with claims he stole more than £127,000 from the charity.

Last year, Mr Leggatt-Chidgey, from near Barnard Castle, County Durham, pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud by false representation at Teesside Crown Court.

The alleged offences are said to have taken place over almost eight years between 2009 and earlier this year.

Mr Leggatt-Chidgey, from Rokeby, left the Stockton-based charity last March after 21 years in charge.

The trial at Teesside Crown Court in Middlesbrough, is scheduled to last for five days.

At a previous hearing, the judge heard that a forensic accountant was likely to form part of the case against Mr Leggatt-Chidgey.

The charity was opened in 1984 by founder, the late Mary Butterwick, who sold her own home to buy somewhere where people could die with dignity.

The theft is said to happened between June 2009 and March 2017 and the fraud is alleged to have been committed on October 1, 2015, when he is said to have signed a lease agreement for a Jaguar car in the name of the Butterwick’s chairman of trustees.