AN ARMY officer accused of fraudulently claiming nearly £220,000 to send his children to a top public school was living on his own while pretending to be married, a court heard yesterday.

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Jolleys, 52, claimed the school fees from the Army so he could send his sons to exclusive Roman Catholic Stonyhurst College.

As he was separated from his wife he was not entitled to the taxpayer-funded allowance so he continued to maintain he was still married, the court was told.

Jolleys, of Woodlands Park, Whalley, is on trial at Swindon Crown Court accused of five charges of obtaining a money transfer by deception, three charges of fraud and three charges of forgery.

It is alleged that Jolleys, a father of three, claimed £218,094.11 in school fees between January 2002 and December 2009 to send his sons to public school.

Jolleys was legitimately claiming the allowance until 2002 when he split from his wife Judith.

He is accused of not informing his superiors of the split.

Lieutenant Colonel Graham Charge told the jury that Army authorities were alerted to the possibility that Jolleys was not married when he began a new posting at the Defence Academy in Shrivenham, Wiltshire.

He said Jolleys was staying on his own in the officers' mess but had submitted paperwork to say he was living with his wife.

Lt Col Charge, who was head of the casework and complaints unit at the Service and Personnel and Veterans Agency, said Jolleys' case was passed to him to investigate.

The witness said that when Jolleys began a new posting at the academy a review of his personal circumstances would have been undertaken, such as whether he needed married quarters or not.

“In this case carrying out the administration process for Lt Col Jolleys it was identified that he was an officer claiming continuing education allowance.”

“They would normally expect that officer to be 'serving accompanied' with his family. Lt Col Jolleys had rooms in the officers' mess - so there was an inconsistency there.”