Shelterbox founder 'felt like naughty schoolboy', fraud trial hears

Tom Henderson (l) and his son John (r). Credit: ITV News

The founder of Cornish charity Shelterbox said he felt like a 'naughty schoolboy' when it was revealed his son was profiting from contracts with the charity. Tom Henderson and his son John are on trial for fraud at the Old Bailey in London.

They're charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, along with the boss of the company who awarded the contract.

64-year-old Tom Henderson founded Shelterbox in his home town of Helston. The charity won world-wide recognition for its swift response to disasters, helping those made homeless by providing tents, stoves, and cooking utensils.

But it was a £650,000 contract for survival equipment that has led to these fraud charges. The charity's former chief executive told the court he had no idea his own son, John Henderson, would profit from the deal, although he knew his son had done design work for the company, Found International.

Today Tom Henderson said it was a 'bombshell' when Shelterbox's finance officer discovered his son's close links to one of their main suppliers.

He described returning from a holiday three years ago to find 'a huge black cloud' in his office - and said it made him feel like a naughty schoolboy.

He was suspended, and within a few months he was sacked and then charged with fraud. The head of the company involved, Darren Gervis, from Beaminster in Dorset, is also charged with conspiracy.

Darren Gervis is also charged with conspiracy to commit fraud. Credit: ITV News

All three men deny the charges.

The trial continues next week.