A headmaster charged with fraud told a jury at Mold Crown Court that he had not done anything wrong.

Nicholas Robert Hankin said he had not tried to get personal laptops using school funds and he had certainly not given two as Christmas presents for his partner and son, he said.

Hankin, 54, who told the jury that he had lost his job following a disciplinary hearing for breaking Wrexham County Borough Council rules and regulations – said he had not tried to defraud anyone.

Hankin, of St George’s Road, Rhos on Sea, was suspended when it was alleged that he had entered into a lease agreement for two personal Apple Mac laptops which were charged to Ysgol Gwenfro on the Caia Park Estate, where he had become headmaster a few months earlier.

Checks were made and it was alleged that he had done the same thing at his previous school, Ysgol Tanyfron at Wrexham, involving two other Apple Mac computers.

Hankin denies two fraud charges while in a position of trust dating back to 2014 and 2015.

In evidence, he said that he qualified as a teacher in 1996, worked in London where his teaching was grading “excellent” and when he returned to Wales he was graded “outstanding”.

He worked at Abergele, and got a deputy head post at Borras Junior school at Wrexham in 2004.

Hankin said he became head at Ysgol Tanyfron in Wrexham in 2012 and while there was also asked to take on the acting headship at St Mary’s in Brymbo. At Easter 2015 he was appointed head at Ysgol Gwenfro.

He had procured a number of items of equipment, not simply the four laptops subject to the fraud charge.

Hankin said did not always go through the local authority procurement scheme but said he did not believe he was doing anything wrong.

He believed that he was operating within his credit limit of £15,000 where he did not need governors’ approval.

In respect of the laptops at Ysgol Tanyfron, one was leased and one was though another company which came with other equipment.

The invoice was given to the school secretary, it had been copied and stored and he would later have called in the local authority technicians to synchronise them.

The delivery records were kept at the school.

He “never conceived” that he would keep any equipment for himself or that he was putting a school at risk of financial loss. He had definitely not considered his actions dishonest.

“Nothing was hidden at all,” he said.

Hankin said that he needed two laptops while at Tanyfron because he was running two schools and was trying to keep the work separate.

Staffing and data protection issues meant that he would not be able to take information from one school to another.

They were certainly not Christmas presents and he never told anyone as far as he could recall that they were.

“If I had said something like that, I am pretty certain I would have been challenged at the time,” he said.

He said that he had not pretended that he had bought them himself but had used school funds to do so.

Every piece of equipment was accounted for.

When he got a new job, the items were returned well before he left, he said.

Questioned by Duncan Bould, defending, he agreed that they had been returned to their original factor settings, but he said that was because they contained data from two different schools.

“There would have been some quite delicate information on them,” he said.

If they had been plugged into the school internet, information would have been available not only to staff but to children, he said.

The original data itself had been downloaded onto the school computers and were available there, he explained.

He would have used the laptops for some personal use and he had been totally honest about it.

Hankin said he was not hiding anything by wiping the equipment.

At Gwenfro, he procured two other laptops together and other items.

Some were through the local authority procurement service and some were not. He believed that he was authorised and did not hide what he had done in any way and did it in tandem with the business manager, who countersigned the leases.

Records were kept and there was no attempt hide the fact that he had the equipment.

At that stage he was separated from his wife, and was spending part of his time at Llandudno and part of his time in Newport near Cardigan.

On occasions, a laptop would be at Llandudno or Newport.

“I had a lot of work to do and I was trying to make my work easier,” he said.

He had them for a short time, maybe some eight weeks.

The following year it had been planned to move to a new school and the laptops would have been used in the new computer suites in conjunction with the pupils’ ipads.

Asked why they were high spec laptops, he said that other equipment kept on failing and lessons could not run. The items he secured did not go out of date as quickly.

When suspended, one laptop was in school and the other in Newport which he later returned.

He agreed the password for one of them was his partner’s name – but that was to differentiate between two identical laptops, he said. It was certainly not her computer.