A judge and his ex-lover who set up their own solicitors’ firm are facing jail for stealing up to £1m from clients to fund their lavish lifestyle.

Simon Kenny, a district judge in Sussex, and his assistant Emma Coates ransacked the customers’ funds at CK Solicitors in West Sussex for four years.

Southwark Crown Court heard that Coates paid off four mortgages, spent £15,000 on a log cabin and hot tub, and bought a Range Rover with the cash. She also took 12 friends on a trip to a resort in Barbados.

Kenny, 61, who was in a relationship with 46-year-old Coates at the time, told staff he had moved cash to offshore accounts because of the Northern Rock bank collapse. 

The pair were found guilty of two counts of fraud following a trial at Southwark.

CK Solicitors, which has no connection with the firm of the same name in Leyton, East London, was closed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in 2012.

A third defendant, 60-year-old Stephen Hiseman, a fee-earner at the former CK Solicitors, was also found guilty of two counts of fraud.

The trio were charged by police in April, 2014, after detectives from the Sussex Police major fraud unit began investigating the firm over the alleged disappearance of around £900,000 from client accounts.

Kenny and Coates were both remanded in custody while Hiseman was released on conditional bail.

The three will be sentenced on 27 January.