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Teacher Samantha Burmis faces jail after using daughter Nina's fingerprints to hide criminal conviction

Teacher Samantha Burmis, who hid her criminal record, outside Maidstone Crown Court. Picture: Mike Gunnill
Teacher Samantha Burmis, who hid her criminal record, outside Maidstone Crown Court. Picture: Mike Gunnill

A teacher who claimed £1.2million after winning a race discrimination claim hid her criminal record when applying for posts at schools.

Samantha Burmis used her daughter's fingerprints instead of her own for Criminal Records Bureau checks.

Now the 44-year-old mother of four is facing a jail sentence for obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception and perverting the course of justice.

Her daughter Nina, who posed as her mother when giving the fingerprints, is also facing prison for perverting the course of justice.

Nina Burmis leaving Maidstone Crown Court after the guilty verdicts. Picture: Mike Gunnill
Nina Burmis leaving Maidstone Crown Court after the guilty verdicts. Picture: Mike Gunnill

The mother and daughter, of Bellman Avenue, Gravesend, denied the offences but were convicted.

The plan came unstuck because 23-year-old Nina's prints were already on the police file as she had been convicted of using a forged cheque to pay for a £3,200 breast enlargement.

She was given a suspended sentence at Hull Crown Court with unpaid work and supervision and ordered to attend a Thinking Skills programme.

Maidstone Crown Court heard under the surname Virgo, Samantha Burmis was jailed for a year at Harrow Crown Court in January 1995 for a £90,000 mortgage fraud.

After serving the sentence, she studied law at the University of Kent. She then obtained a qualification at the University of Greenwich and trained to be a teacher.

But when she applied for a teaching post at Aylesford School, Maidstone, she failed to reveal the conviction.

"The decision by her not to disclose previous convictions was deliberate because she feared if she did disclose them she would jeopardise her chances of being employed by the school," said prosecutor Ed Connell.

She was employed by the school from May 2001 to February 2005 and was paid just under £60,000.

Police had Samantha Burmis' prints from when she was originally arrested. In an attempt to distance herself from her past, she offered to have them taken again.

But when an expert went to her home, Nina Burmis covered her face and handed over her mother's driving licence as proof of identity.

Teacher Samantha Burmis hid her criminal record
Teacher Samantha Burmis hid her criminal record

The mother and daughter were convicted after the jury of six men and six women were out for 90 minutes.

After Burmis was sacked from Aylesford School for gross misconduct, she in 2007 brought an action for unfair dismissal, claiming racial discrimination, at an employment tribunal.

She was successful after the 42-day hearing, but did not get a payout because of the current criminal proceedings.

Mr Connell said Burmis lied at the tribunal by asserting she did not have any previous convictions.

"The decision by her not to disclose previous convictions was deliberate because she feared if she did disclose them she would jeopardise her chances of being employed by the school..." - prosecutor Ed Connell

"She knew if her lie about her background was found out before the tribunal concluded her award damages might be significantly reduced," he said.

"In order to maintain the lie about her background and clear the way for future employment she and her daughter conspired to pervert the course of justice."

Samantha Burmis had maintained at her latest trial she had neither served a prison sentence nor had a criminal record.

Nina Burmis said she had just woken up when there was a knock at the door and she was asked to give her prints.

Asked by the prosecutor if she thought it was bizarre, she replied: "It is not really bizarre if there are ongoing matters."

She denied answering the door with her face covered apart from her eyes. "I would not pretend to be my mother," she said. "That is ridiculous. I would not have given my mother's licence and covered my face."

Adjourning sentence for reports and granting bail, Judge David Griffith-Jones QC warned: "It should not be seen as an indication that anything less than an immediate custodial sentence will be the likely outcome."

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