Search

Violin Dealer Plucks Heartstrings

PUBLISHED: 15:16 28 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:52 03 July 2010

A violin dealer who fiddled a customer out of £4,000 because his company was failing is suffering a mental breakdown due to his financial problems, a court heard today.

A violin dealer who fiddled a customer out of £4,000 because his company was failing is suffering a mental breakdown due to his financial problems, a court heard today.

Stephen Lyall was said to have plunged into the depths of despair and lost the only thing in life he loved after Lyall Violin Restorer Dealer and Valuer closed in Acle last year.

Claims of Lyall's inner turmoil emerged as he appeared at Yarmouth Magistrates' Court to be sentenced to carry out 300 hours unpaid work for stealing £4,000 from a customer.

Lyall, 48, of Eastern Avenue, Caister, had earlier pleaded guilty to theft after he admitted taking a violin from William Moorhouse and putting it up for sale and keeping the money to himself.

Mr Moorhouse wanted to sell the Italian 19th century violin, which was given to him as a child, so he could raise funds to install double glazing at his 86-year-old mother's home.

Lyall had been warned he faced jail but he remained free after his solicitor Annette Hall argued his long running entrenched mental health problems and previous suicidal tendencies had paid a part in the theft to try and keep his now defunct business afloat.

Ms Hall said: “He had a complete and utter breakdown effectively. He is still suffering today. The only love of his life was his business and that has been lost.

“There are no words that my client can offer that can make up for what he has done. He is absolutely mortified by what has happened.”

Ms Hall said that to help Lyall escape “the depths of despair” and his on-going “nightmare” he should be made to carry out unpaid work instead of going to jail.

Lyall had been given the violin to sell on a ten per cent commission basis in 2006.

Mr Moorhouse found out at the end of last year that Lyall had in fact sold the instrument for £4,000 to a professional musician and kept the money to himself.

In a victim impact statement Mr Moorhouse said: “It has been an upsetting time. Both my mother and I have been stunned by Mr Lyall's actions.”

As well as ordering Lyall to carry out 300 hours unpaid work, magistrates also ordered him to pay £1,000 compensation to Mr Moorhouse. No order for court costs was made as Lyall is on benefits.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Great Yarmouth Mercury. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Great Yarmouth Mercury