Gambler Faces Prison for Stealing from ‘Thunderbirds’ Writer-Director

Posted on: May 29, 2024, 08:23h. 

Last updated on: May 30, 2024, 10:15h.

A care provider in the UK who prosecutors claim stole £75K (US$95K) from an Emmy Award-winning writer and director to feed his addiction to lottery tickets has failed to have his guilty plea vacated.

Alan Patillo, Allan John Beacham, Thunderbirds
Allan John Beacham, top left, has pleaded guilty to stealing from Emmy award-winner Alan Patillo, bottom left, who died in 2020. Patillo was a writer and director for kids’ marionette action show “Thunderbirds,” right. (Image:

Allan John Beacham, 66, pleaded guilty in January to stealing from the late Alan Patillo, to whom he was a full-time care provider.

Patillo was a writer and director for the 1960s kids’ TV show “Thunderbirds,” as well as its predecessors, “Supercar,” “Fireball XL5,” and “Stingray.”

“Thunderbirds” is remembered for pioneering electronic marionette puppetry and was famously parodied by “South Park” creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, in “Team America: World Police.”

Later, Patillo was the sound editor for Nicholas Roeg’s counterculture classic, “Performance,” which starred Mick Jagger. He was also the sound editor on Pink Floyd’s 1982 surrealist musical, “The Wall.”

Patillo won his Emmy for his work on the epic 1979 anti-war television movie “All Quiet on the Western Front.”

First Trial Abandoned

Patillo was suffering from stage-five Parkinson’s disease and was immobile and blind when Beacham allegedly began to use the writer’s finances as his personal piggy bank.

During a trial last June, the court heard that Beacham, already living in a house purchased for him by Patillo, siphoned the money from the writer’s bank accounts between Jan. 1, 2017, and June 1, 2019.

Patillo died in January 2020, at age 90.

Beacham initially pleaded not guilty to the charges, but his first trial was halted after a series of dramatic disruptions.

These included the defendant claiming during one hearing that he was too ill to continue before driving himself 150 miles back home. At a later hearing, he collapsed in the dock after listening to prosecution evidence.

Judge Loses Patience

On the first day of his second trial In January, Beacham pleaded guilty to theft. But when he appeared for his sentencing hearing in March, he asked to withdraw the plea.

His lawyer later requested for the judge to adjourn the case so that Beacham could obtain a medical statement from his doctor.

But Judge Adam Feest in Winchester Crown Court had heard enough.

The basis is not that the defendant was poorly advised or had any pressure put on him,” said Feest. “In my judgment, this application should be refused. The defendant has had ample time to obtain medical evidence. Even if this was obtained, he still entered a voluntary guilty plea.”

Feest set a new sentencing hearing for June 21 and warned the defendant that he will likely be facing a prison sentence.