Video thumbnail, Former Huddersfield Town, Bradford City and Aston Villa player Bobby Campbell cleared of fraud
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Football  legend Bobby Campbell who faced fraud charges relating to his stewardship of Lindley WMC is celebrating after the Crown asked a judge to formally discontinue the case today.

The 58-year-old former Huddersfield Town and Northern Ireland international striker and his wife Paula had endured 18 months of hell since they were charged at Kirklees Magistrates’ Court last year.

But in a hearing at Leeds Crown Court that took just five minutes the Crown asked judge, Recorder Mark McKone, for the case not to proceed.

Mr Campbell and his wife Paula who was also charged with fraud sat in the public gallery after the judge agreed it would be inappropriate for them to stand in the dock given what was about to be disclosed.

Mr Christopher Dunn said: “There has been detailed analysis by the prosecution which has resulted in me speaking to a reviewing lawyer and to the officer in the case and as a result of this discussion it has been accepted that looking at the ‘evidential sufficiency’ it’s not made out.

“I take the view and the Crown Prosecution Service have accepted that there was not a realistic prospect of conviction and therefore the application is not to offer evidence in this case on this indictment.”

The judge agreed and the couple left the court with their heads held high with an emotional Paula shedding a tear as they thanked their defence team, Opus Law solicitors.

Afterwards, the couple spoke of their ordeal which began when they were charged with stealing £9,629.50 during the period of December 30, 2011 to December 30, 2012.

Bobby Campbell, playing for Aston Villa in 1975
Bobby Campbell, playing for Aston Villa in 1975
 

A relieved Bobby said: “It has been a very, very stressful time for both of us and there was no escaping the stigma hanging over us. I am going to celebrate at The Vulcan with a few close friends this lunchtime.

“We are both very grateful to our legal teams who have been incredibly professional and dedicated and who we cannot thank enough.”

Asked whether he would be pursuing the club for unfair dismissal through an employment tribunal he said he would talk to his union colleagues next week.

He added: “The club were in financial difficulties and I feel I was made a scapegoat for what was happening. At the end of the day I was only the guy who pulled the pints of beer.

“In a way I feel bitter about what happened. Some of the people involved had been friends who I had invited for Christmas dinner but I am not the type to hold grudges.

“Both Paula and I have had many sleepless nights over this and at times have found it difficult to eat so great has been the stress.

“When I was first told I was going to be arrested I thought the people behind this were trying to provoke me.

“The police came on a Sunday morning and arrested me. It was stressful. I had been at the club 25 years and it had been our life.

“But we will never go back in. I hate to say it because it was our life. I am just glad it is all over.”

Paula, 57, said: “Our family and friends have been behind us all the way and helped us get through this ordeal. We have been supported by people in Bradford and Huddersfield.

“We have two daughters, Faye who runs a hairdressers in Marsh and Jade who lives in Dublin.”

Although Bobby played for Huddersfield Town briefly he is remembered more for his scoring exploits for Bradford City for whom he remains their all time top scorer.

Due to an ankle injury he has difficulty walking and needs a stick and has been signed off as “permanently sick.”

He joked: “My footballing days are certainly over though perhaps I could come back as a ‘keeper.”

And he paid tribute to his wife saying: “Paula has turned out to be strong. She has kept me going.”

Det Insp Jim Griffiths of Kirklees CID said: "Cases of fraud are always very difficult to investigate due to the many complex accountancy practices used by both companies and individuals. We would however always encourage people who suspect fraud to report it via the action fraud website."