King’s Lynn Town boss and former Wisbech Town FC manager Gary Setchell speaks about council tax misunderstanding
Local football manager Gary Setchell has spoken about how a misunderstanding over his council tax payments could have landed him in custody.
The former Wisbech Town manager, who is now in charge at King’s Lynn, was summonsed to appear before magistrates in King’s Lynn for a non-payment of £1,619.64 but a no-bail warrant was issued after he failed to appear at the court.
The decision means the matter was passed to warrant officers, who could have then arrested and held Mr Setchell in custody until another court appearance could be arranged.
But afterwards, he was able to prove an email was sent to the court ahead of the hearing to explain that he was unable to be there because he was attending the funeral of a close friend’s father in Northamptonshire.
Mr Setchell, who managed the Fenmen from 2008 to 2010, said: “It appears my message about the court appearance happening at the same time as the funeral didn’t reach the right people.
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“As soon as I found out the warrant had been issued, I was really surprised and contacted the council straight away to explain what happened.
“I’m going to visit the offices on Monday to pay more of the bill and also sort out a payment plan.
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He added: “I want to have the whole debt cleared before the end of August - that’s when the next court date is likely to take place.”
The court also ordered him to pay further costs of £145 at the hearing on Wednesday.
Mr Setchell also explained the large council tax bill accumulated as the result of a misunderstanding on his rent payments.
He claims that while he thought council tax was included in the rent, it emerged that was not the case.
“There was a complete misunderstanding when I moved into the new property,” he added. “I thought my council tax was ‘all in’ and then ended up with a massive bill.
“It has been a really stressful experience and I’m looking forward to putting it all behind me. This isn’t what I needed the week before the season started.”
Mr Setchell was being prosecuted by West Norfolk Council for not paying his council tax over the last two years.
A mix up during his last appearance meant he left before his case was brought before magistrates.
He had paid some of the bill but his case was treated by the court as if he had not attended.
That time, a warrant with bail was granted by magistrates and he was ordered to pay another £145 in costs.