The Greenwich councillor found guilty of committing property fraud has finally resigned from her position with the authority.

Tonia Ashikodi, who represented the Glyndon ward, emailed her resignation to council leader Dan Thorpe just hours after a judge handed her an 18-month sentence, suspended for two years, and 250 hours of community service.

Cllr Thorpe tweeted on Wednesday afternoon: "I’ve now received an email from Cllr Tonia Ashikodi tendering her resignation as a councillor in Royal Greenwich with immediate effect. I’ve written to the Chief Executive to request that a by-election takes place."

In an additional statement, Cllr Thorpe said: "At the sentencing, her own defence barrister said that it is clear that her time in office as a councillor must come to an end. I’m glad that Tonia has listened and is standing down now so the residents of Glyndon can elect a new councillor to represent them as soon as possible."

Cllr Matt Hartley, leader of Greenwich Conservatives, said they were already seeking a candidate to contest the upcoming by-election, which has been triggered too late to coincide with the Greater London Assembly election in May. 

"It is frankly astonishing that it has taken this long for Tonia Ashikodi to resign as a councillor, but I am relieved she has finally done so. It is frustrating and unfortunate that it is not legally possible to hold the by-election on the same day as the Mayoral/GLA election in May. This is one more additional cost to add to the £67,000 and countless officer time that this sorry saga has already cost the Greenwich taxpayer," he said. 

"Greenwich Conservatives’ candidate selection process is already underway and we will select our by-election candidate next week. Glyndon ward residents have been badly let down - and we look forward to offering them a strong alternative on April 9.”


Ms Ashikodi, 30, was given a suspended sentence at London Inner Crown Court on Wednesday, following her conviction for two counts of fraud by misrepresentation.

In sentencing, Judge Benedict Kelleher said her crime of applying for and living in council housing while she owned three other properties had denied other “more deserving” residents accommodation in the borough.

“As a result of your actions, another family would have lived in temporary accommodation unnecessarily,” Judge Kelleher said of the Labour Party member.

Her legal team had maintained she had been holding the homes in trust for her father, Tony Ashikodi, who was receiving rent and paying the bills on the properties.

However, Judge Kelleher said her refusal to give evidence or call for witnesses during the trial had counted against her.

“It may well be that a sense of loyalty to your father prevented you from doing so,” he said.

While emphasising the seriousness of her offence, Judge Kelleher said it was “balanced by mitigation”, including that she was the primary breadwinner in her home which she shares with her husband and their three young children.

“Many might say an example should be made of you,” he said.

“However, to approach the case in that way would be to ignore background circumstances.”

He said Ms Ashikodi would probably have been entitled to council housing “at some period” during her tenure, although he refused claims that her husband, who has diabetes and hypertension, couldn’t assist her in caring for the children.

While he didn’t consider her subsequent appointment as a councillor as an “aggravating factor” as it came after she accepted council housing, he did find her refusal to resign from her position even after being encouraged by fellow councillors “might…demonstrate an absence of remorse”.

He did say her election as councillor displayed a “positive side of your character” but added the sentence “will inevitably bring your career as councillor to an end”.

In imposing an 18-month prison term, suspended for two years, Judge Kelleher added that “some immediate punishment” must also be dealt, sentencing the councillor to an additional 250 hours of unpaid work.

Ms Ashikodi remained silent and expressionless in the dock as the sentence was handed down.

The judge had earlier heard how her actions cost the council £67,417.46 – the price of keeping another resident in emergency accommodation who would otherwise be residing in the council home occupied by her.

He was also told that she would have paid significantly lower rent than the market rate during her time in council housing between 2012 and June 2018 – a difference of roughly £90,500.

Ms Ashikodi’s defence had earlier appealed to the judge not to impose a prison sentence, saying: “She’s the only one with a regular income in her house, however modest it may be”.

While she had recently founded an “organic skincare shop”, it was running at a loss, and she had instead been living on benefits and her councillor’s allowance of roughly £10,000 a year.

While her defence conceded it was “clear her office as a councillor must come to an end”, he asked for a sentence “considering all her attributes” and was “mindful of the ages of her children”, who she had to take to school and church.

“She presents as a lady who is devoted to her community,” her defence said.

“She is not someone who has sought election to grandize her own position but actually in general serves the people she represents.”

The sentence comes after a 2018 investigation by Greenwich Council’s internal anti-fraud team in connection with the “ownership of a number of properties” by the councillor.

The Glyndon ward member was subsequently suspended by the Labour party but has remained on the council – until Wednesday.