Fraud trial hears PA not questioned
The long-time personal assistant of a businessman accused of being part of a £14 million fraud was not interviewed by police, a court has heard.
Detective Constable Diane Knight, the investigating officer, said that on legal advice a decision was made not to question Jacqueline Elmore during the three-year West Mercia Police inquiry into the activities of David Griffiths.
At Birmingham Crown Court yesterday (THUR), the officer was asked by Judge Roderick Henderson and Patrick Harrington QC, representing Simon Drew, who is Griffiths' co-accused, about the decision.
The court had heard that Miss Elmore and Griffiths had a "long history" and she had been his PA at Inspire GLG Ltd, the business at the centre of the alleged fraud, on a £100,000 a year salary, and she had held a similar post at Visual Gold, a previous company run by Griffiths, which went into liquidation.
Griffiths, 50, of New Road, Oreton, near Cleobury Mortimer, and Drew, 49, formerly of Larches Lane, Oreton, and now living in Rye, West Sussex, each claim the other was responsible for the fraud.
Both deny a series of allegations involving the obtaining of monies, cheques and financial guarantees between 2004 and 2009, by false representation and deception.
Monies went through Bewdley-based Inspire GLG Ltd, which acted as the hub for a series of production companies using the titles of proposed animated children's TV programmes.
The prosecution allege that false details of backgrounds and ability were used to dupe people into investing in the film projects.
Cross-examined by Mr Harrington, DC Knight accepted that Miss Elmore may have had important information, but she did not think it necessary to speak to her at the time.
The officer also accepted that "a lot of money" had been taken out of Inspire GLG by Griffiths about which Miss Elmore may have had knowledge.
DC Knight said she had spoken to Drew on many occasions and confirmed the defendant made a complaint against Griffiths and initially Drew had been treated as a witness and made a statement, but was later summonsed as a defendant.
The court heard that inquiry had been concentrated on the investors and over 150 of the "stakeholders" were contacted.
DC Knight said that the focus had been on the origins of the money and that Miss Elmore was not questioned because she was neither an investor, nor was she selling the product to the investors.
Answering questions from Judge Henderson the officer said that Miss Elmore may have been able to give "vital information" had she been interviewed.
She told the court that had the inquiry been into the appropriation of funds then other key players would have been seen, but the inquiry never reached that point.
"Maybe that was a failing, but it was not the course I choose to take at that time," she said.
The trial continues.
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