A FINANCE boss has admitted abusing his position at a hospital charity.

As previously reported, Ronald Chigunwe had been charged with a raft of offences after nearly £450,000 in cash was stolen from his employer.

Ronald Chigunwe has now pleaded guilty to four counts in relation to his position at much-loved charity Wessex Heartbeat, which provides support to the babies, children, adults and their loved ones treated at the Wessex Cardiac Centre at Southampton General Hospital.

The 40-year-old appeared at Southampton Crown Court yesterday and admitted two counts of fraud by abuse of position and two counts of converting criminal property.

He is due to be sentenced in November.

Chigunwe denied four other counts of converting criminal property and the Crown Prosecution Service will now decide whether he should face trial.

More than £440,000 cash was stolen from Wessex Heartbeat over several years.

Basingstoke resident Chigunwe worked as a financial controller for the charity, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and left it in 2015.

John Munro, chief executive of Wessex Heartbeat, previously told the Daily Echo the charity would issue a full statement at the end of the legal proceedings.

Wessex Heartbeat began fundraising for the Wessex Cardiac Centre at Southampton General Hospital in 1992, and has since raised £15.8 million to provide cutting-edge equipment, clinical education and research. It helps 20,000 patients a year.

The Daily Echo reported earlier this summer that it is investing £200,000 in a programme which will give Southampton youngsters the opportunity to learn about science and lead a healthier life. Mr Munro announced plans to provide funding for the LifeLab programme, a state-of-the-art teaching laboratory.