A Luton worship ministry worker who fled from his fraud convictions for 17 years has been spared jail after finally being caught.
Alfred David Zulu AKA David Saunders was supposed to appear at Luton Crown Court in July 2001 on two counts of financial fraud.
The charges related to two fraudulent car sales in January 2001, while Zulu was working as a car salesman for Honda in Luton.
Zulu used the details of two elderly victims to claim finance for the purchases – one of whom was living in a care home – and cheated a finance company out of £2,000 before the fraud was unmasked.
Zulu skipped bail while awaiting sentence and hid in plain sight with his wife and three children in Luton – only being caught after routine checks were carried out last year.
He claimed to the court that he has now found God and volunteers as a support worker at Liberty House Worship Ministry in the town. A supporting letter was provided to the court which mispelt the word ‘ministry’.
Last Thursday, at Luton Crown Court, Judge Andrew Bright QC told him: “Sorry if I’m sceptical about the latter, but anyone who is involved in worship ministry and cannot spell ‘ministry’ needs to go back to school.
“I accept on the face of it, you’ve turned your life around.
“You ran off trying to escape justice and of course, I don’t believe a word of what you told the Probation Service about believing the charges were dropped.
“That’s rubbish and you know it.”
Besides his wife’s earnings as an NHS health worker, Zulu claimed his only other income was through a flat he sub-let in Luton.
The court was told that Zambian-born Zulu came to the UK in 1989 and is in the process of applying for indefinite leave to remain. He has a previous conviction for smuggling cannabis at Gatwick Airport in 1997.
Zulu was handed a sentence of nine months in total suspended for two years, as well as 120 hours of unpaid work and £500 towards prosecution costs.