Jail for Christopher Brown who stole £170,000 from Dawsons shop to stop wife revealing he was gay

Daily Echo: Christopher Brown Christopher Brown

A HAMPSHIRE financial director who stole nearly £170,000 from his employers to pay crippling credit card debts has been jailed for two years.

Christopher Brown, 55, from Lymington, claimed that he took the money from luxury goods firm Dawsons to stop his then-wife Mandy from revealing he was gay.

Brown maintained he felt pressurised to live beyond his means after she discovered he had been making phone calls to gay chatlines - and threatened to expose his sexuality.

He told the jury at Bournemouth Crown Court: ''She took exception - I was desperate not to leave the family so I got into this financial mess.''

Brown split from his wife in 2003 and he started a new life in France with a male partner, with whom he set up a bed and breakfast business.

But he was forced to return to the UK from France last year after a European Arrest Warrant was issued.

Brown insisted he had not stolen the money from Dawsons - where he had worked for 23 years - but had borrowed it and repaid all but £35,000 of what he had taken.

The defendant, of Grafton Gardens, Lymington, was found guilty last month of four charges of theft, dated between 2000 and 2003.

The court heard Brown stole £169,733.33 from Dawsons where he was employed as finance director and had complete control over the firm's finances.

Brown wrote out 56 cheques with around £140,000 paid directly to credit card companies to meet his mounting debts. The remainder he paid into his own account.

An internal audit carried out while Brown was on holiday revealed a large discrepancy in the firm's accounts.

The other two directors confronted him on his return in November 2003 and Brown agreed to resign.

Prosecutor Audrey Archer told today's sentencing hearing: ''The defendant was in a high position of trust at his place of employment.

''The Crown submits these offences fall into the higher category because the defendant was in a position of a higher degree of trust.''

Brian Sharman, defending, said Brown - of previous good character - had been living with the offences hanging over him since the police first wanted to speak to him in 2006.

''This was offending committed with a very unusual set of circumstances,'' he said.

''It is perhaps not unreasonable that had these reasons not conspired in a perfect storm he would have remained, as he had for many years, an honest employee.''

Recorder James Watson QC said Brown's offending was so serious that only an immediate custodial sentence was appropriate.

''You were convicted by a jury of theft. It was a substantial theft and it was a theft which took place over a substantial period,'' the judge said.

''It was also a theft which involved a substantial degree of dishonesty and breach of trust.

''I do take the view, despite the mitigation, this is a matter that I must pass an immediate custodial sentence.

''You choose to siphon off cash from the company business accounts to fund your personal accounts and your family.

''What you did was done in a clandestine way and the jury's verdict was that you were dishonest throughout the period.

''You knew full well what you were doing was dishonest. I am quite satisfied that you were deluding yourself in the early days in that you would be able to repay the money.

''It is a matter of deep regret that in a small company no one else had overview of what you were doing. A thorough audit may well have uncovered what you were doing.''

The judge said the case was ''unusual'' and added: ''I do take into account the pressures upon your life - your own sexuality - and the shame of being unable to admit to yourself your sexuality.''

The judge also ordered Brown to pay £4,800 prosecution costs.

The prosecution reserved its right to apply for the forfeiture of Brown's assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Brown's ex-wife, who was in court to see him sentenced, did not wish to comment afterwards.

Comments (25)

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2:50pm Fri 22 Feb 13

solomum says...

Why on earth do people carry out crimes to appease others? If his reasons for stealing are true and his dishonesty kept his wife quiet, then she is as guilty as he is and therefore should face the same charge as him. Also too, a charge for blackmail, as threatening to reveal he was gay unless he appeased her surely amounts to such. If the only way to keep a marriage/relationshi
p/friendship going is to be dishonest, then get out as the person you are trying to keep surely does not care for you one jot. I look forward to the day when people have enough respect for themselves to say NO to the nasty bullies that control them.
Why on earth do people carry out crimes to appease others? If his reasons for stealing are true and his dishonesty kept his wife quiet, then she is as guilty as he is and therefore should face the same charge as him. Also too, a charge for blackmail, as threatening to reveal he was gay unless he appeased her surely amounts to such. If the only way to keep a marriage/relationshi p/friendship going is to be dishonest, then get out as the person you are trying to keep surely does not care for you one jot. I look forward to the day when people have enough respect for themselves to say NO to the nasty bullies that control them. solomum

3:09pm Fri 22 Feb 13

jonnyx says...

if true then his wife sounds like a treasure.
if true then his wife sounds like a treasure. jonnyx

3:12pm Fri 22 Feb 13

J.P.M says...

solomum wrote:
Why on earth do people carry out crimes to appease others? If his reasons for stealing are true and his dishonesty kept his wife quiet, then she is as guilty as he is and therefore should face the same charge as him. Also too, a charge for blackmail, as threatening to reveal he was gay unless he appeased her surely amounts to such. If the only way to keep a marriage/relationshi

p/friendship going is to be dishonest, then get out as the person you are trying to keep surely does not care for you one jot. I look forward to the day when people have enough respect for themselves to say NO to the nasty bullies that control them.
I think you have lost the point - this is a lowlife thief and manipulator - not a victim
[quote][p][bold]solomum[/bold] wrote: Why on earth do people carry out crimes to appease others? If his reasons for stealing are true and his dishonesty kept his wife quiet, then she is as guilty as he is and therefore should face the same charge as him. Also too, a charge for blackmail, as threatening to reveal he was gay unless he appeased her surely amounts to such. If the only way to keep a marriage/relationshi p/friendship going is to be dishonest, then get out as the person you are trying to keep surely does not care for you one jot. I look forward to the day when people have enough respect for themselves to say NO to the nasty bullies that control them.[/p][/quote]I think you have lost the point - this is a lowlife thief and manipulator - not a victim J.P.M

3:20pm Fri 22 Feb 13

SPIKEISLANDTRADER says...

Plenty of nice boys willing to entertain him in prison , maybe a bus mans holiday for HIM , The inmates will think its xmas , santa daddy has landed
Plenty of nice boys willing to entertain him in prison , maybe a bus mans holiday for HIM , The inmates will think its xmas , santa daddy has landed SPIKEISLANDTRADER

3:27pm Fri 22 Feb 13

hulla baloo says...

solomum wrote:
Why on earth do people carry out crimes to appease others? If his reasons for stealing are true and his dishonesty kept his wife quiet, then she is as guilty as he is and therefore should face the same charge as him. Also too, a charge for blackmail, as threatening to reveal he was gay unless he appeased her surely amounts to such. If the only way to keep a marriage/relationshi

p/friendship going is to be dishonest, then get out as the person you are trying to keep surely does not care for you one jot. I look forward to the day when people have enough respect for themselves to say NO to the nasty bullies that control them.
Any proof his wife tried to blackmail him, or just a ploy invented by the defence to try and get a lesser sentence?
[quote][p][bold]solomum[/bold] wrote: Why on earth do people carry out crimes to appease others? If his reasons for stealing are true and his dishonesty kept his wife quiet, then she is as guilty as he is and therefore should face the same charge as him. Also too, a charge for blackmail, as threatening to reveal he was gay unless he appeased her surely amounts to such. If the only way to keep a marriage/relationshi p/friendship going is to be dishonest, then get out as the person you are trying to keep surely does not care for you one jot. I look forward to the day when people have enough respect for themselves to say NO to the nasty bullies that control them.[/p][/quote]Any proof his wife tried to blackmail him, or just a ploy invented by the defence to try and get a lesser sentence? hulla baloo

3:52pm Fri 22 Feb 13

J.P.M says...

He should have spent the takings on a dentist
He should have spent the takings on a dentist J.P.M

4:31pm Fri 22 Feb 13

jonnyx says...

SPIKEISLANDTRADER wrote:
Plenty of nice boys willing to entertain him in prison , maybe a bus mans holiday for HIM , The inmates will think its xmas , santa daddy has landed
jesus what a grim post.
[quote][p][bold]SPIKEISLANDTRADER[/bold] wrote: Plenty of nice boys willing to entertain him in prison , maybe a bus mans holiday for HIM , The inmates will think its xmas , santa daddy has landed[/p][/quote]jesus what a grim post. jonnyx

5:29pm Fri 22 Feb 13

jonnyx says...

that's fine you've the right to take offence j.p.m - is it because you're a christian?
that's fine you've the right to take offence j.p.m - is it because you're a christian? jonnyx

5:33pm Fri 22 Feb 13

chunky_lover says...

J.P.M wrote:
jonnyx wrote:
SPIKEISLANDTRADER wrote:
Plenty of nice boys willing to entertain him in prison , maybe a bus mans holiday for HIM , The inmates will think its xmas , santa daddy has landed
jesus what a grim post.
I take offence at your use of symbols of worship, to signify outrage.
LOL - good posts guys!!
[quote][p][bold]J.P.M[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]jonnyx[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]SPIKEISLANDTRADER[/bold] wrote: Plenty of nice boys willing to entertain him in prison , maybe a bus mans holiday for HIM , The inmates will think its xmas , santa daddy has landed[/p][/quote]jesus what a grim post.[/p][/quote]I take offence at your use of symbols of worship, to signify outrage.[/p][/quote]LOL - good posts guys!! chunky_lover

5:34pm Fri 22 Feb 13

solomum says...

hulla baloo wrote:
solomum wrote:
Why on earth do people carry out crimes to appease others? If his reasons for stealing are true and his dishonesty kept his wife quiet, then she is as guilty as he is and therefore should face the same charge as him. Also too, a charge for blackmail, as threatening to reveal he was gay unless he appeased her surely amounts to such. If the only way to keep a marriage/relationshi


p/friendship going is to be dishonest, then get out as the person you are trying to keep surely does not care for you one jot. I look forward to the day when people have enough respect for themselves to say NO to the nasty bullies that control them.
Any proof his wife tried to blackmail him, or just a ploy invented by the defence to try and get a lesser sentence?
Hence why I put 'If his reasons for stealing are true'. I fail to see why though he would get a lesser sentence if it is true as ultimately he commited the crime. However I do feel that his wife should also be investigated as to what her role in this really was, if any.
[quote][p][bold]hulla baloo[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]solomum[/bold] wrote: Why on earth do people carry out crimes to appease others? If his reasons for stealing are true and his dishonesty kept his wife quiet, then she is as guilty as he is and therefore should face the same charge as him. Also too, a charge for blackmail, as threatening to reveal he was gay unless he appeased her surely amounts to such. If the only way to keep a marriage/relationshi p/friendship going is to be dishonest, then get out as the person you are trying to keep surely does not care for you one jot. I look forward to the day when people have enough respect for themselves to say NO to the nasty bullies that control them.[/p][/quote]Any proof his wife tried to blackmail him, or just a ploy invented by the defence to try and get a lesser sentence?[/p][/quote]Hence why I put 'If his reasons for stealing are true'. I fail to see why though he would get a lesser sentence if it is true as ultimately he commited the crime. However I do feel that his wife should also be investigated as to what her role in this really was, if any. solomum

5:49pm Fri 22 Feb 13

Georgem says...

solomum wrote:
Why on earth do people carry out crimes to appease others? If his reasons for stealing are true and his dishonesty kept his wife quiet, then she is as guilty as he is and therefore should face the same charge as him. Also too, a charge for blackmail, as threatening to reveal he was gay unless he appeased her surely amounts to such. If the only way to keep a marriage/relationshi

p/friendship going is to be dishonest, then get out as the person you are trying to keep surely does not care for you one jot. I look forward to the day when people have enough respect for themselves to say NO to the nasty bullies that control them.
Also, who in this day and age cares if a financial director is gay?
[quote][p][bold]solomum[/bold] wrote: Why on earth do people carry out crimes to appease others? If his reasons for stealing are true and his dishonesty kept his wife quiet, then she is as guilty as he is and therefore should face the same charge as him. Also too, a charge for blackmail, as threatening to reveal he was gay unless he appeased her surely amounts to such. If the only way to keep a marriage/relationshi p/friendship going is to be dishonest, then get out as the person you are trying to keep surely does not care for you one jot. I look forward to the day when people have enough respect for themselves to say NO to the nasty bullies that control them.[/p][/quote]Also, who in this day and age cares if a financial director is gay? Georgem

6:15pm Fri 22 Feb 13

bigfella777 says...

Yeah who cares if your gay?
Yeah who cares if your gay? bigfella777

7:21pm Fri 22 Feb 13

eurogordi says...

Mr Brown was phoning gay chat lines, but was he engaging in gay sex? Perhaps he was just fantasising.

Either way, the former Mrs Brown checks the phone bill and finds out what her husband has been doing. He is scared after being found out. She is scared of being rejected by her husband in preference for another man.

She demands cash to keep quiet ... he doesn't want to publicly come out so agrees. We're talking of Lymington where people have opposed the 99p Store and Wetherspoons and appearances have to be maintained in such a socialite town.

If this story was about Mr Huhne and Ms Pryce, I'm sure both parties would have been investigated in court!!
Mr Brown was phoning gay chat lines, but was he engaging in gay sex? Perhaps he was just fantasising. Either way, the former Mrs Brown checks the phone bill and finds out what her husband has been doing. He is scared after being found out. She is scared of being rejected by her husband in preference for another man. She demands cash to keep quiet ... he doesn't want to publicly come out so agrees. We're talking of Lymington where people have opposed the 99p Store and Wetherspoons and appearances have to be maintained in such a socialite town. If this story was about Mr Huhne and Ms Pryce, I'm sure both parties would have been investigated in court!! eurogordi

8:13pm Fri 22 Feb 13

Lockssmart says...

chunky_lover wrote:
J.P.M wrote:
jonnyx wrote:
SPIKEISLANDTRADER wrote:
Plenty of nice boys willing to entertain him in prison , maybe a bus mans holiday for HIM , The inmates will think its xmas , santa daddy has landed
jesus what a grim post.
I take offence at your use of symbols of worship, to signify outrage.
LOL - good posts guys!!
What's J.P.M. Stand for?
Jesus Penetrated Me?
[quote][p][bold]chunky_lover[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]J.P.M[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]jonnyx[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]SPIKEISLANDTRADER[/bold] wrote: Plenty of nice boys willing to entertain him in prison , maybe a bus mans holiday for HIM , The inmates will think its xmas , santa daddy has landed[/p][/quote]jesus what a grim post.[/p][/quote]I take offence at your use of symbols of worship, to signify outrage.[/p][/quote]LOL - good posts guys!![/p][/quote]What's J.P.M. Stand for? Jesus Penetrated Me? Lockssmart

8:56pm Fri 22 Feb 13

saintsalive1 says...

Why do you need to try and be offensive to Christians? Completely off the point and also cowardly as Christians tend not to fight back. Are you christophobic? Would be braver to blaspheme muslim holy words.
Why do you need to try and be offensive to Christians? Completely off the point and also cowardly as Christians tend not to fight back. Are you christophobic? Would be braver to blaspheme muslim holy words. saintsalive1

9:00pm Fri 22 Feb 13

cantthinkofone says...

bigfella777 wrote:
Yeah who cares if your gay?
Your gay what?
[quote][p][bold]bigfella777[/bold] wrote: Yeah who cares if your gay?[/p][/quote]Your gay what? cantthinkofone

9:09pm Fri 22 Feb 13

jonnyx says...

proverbs 6:26 j.p.m (tut, tut).
proverbs 6:26 j.p.m (tut, tut). jonnyx

9:10pm Fri 22 Feb 13

J.P.M says...

Anone know what dawsons do?
Anone know what dawsons do? J.P.M

9:12pm Fri 22 Feb 13

cantthinkofone says...

J.P.M wrote:
Anone know what dawsons do?
Good at defensive headers.
[quote][p][bold]J.P.M[/bold] wrote: Anone know what dawsons do?[/p][/quote]Good at defensive headers. cantthinkofone

10:03pm Fri 22 Feb 13

Lockssmart says...

Lol.
Lol. Lockssmart

10:38pm Fri 22 Feb 13

Lockssmart says...

MGRA wrote:
this thread wins the "most pr1cks" who post on thread competition.....
With you posting that, you are so true.
[quote][p][bold]MGRA[/bold] wrote: this thread wins the "most pr1cks" who post on thread competition.....[/p][/quote]With you posting that, you are so true. Lockssmart

11:06pm Fri 22 Feb 13

Georgem says...

SPIKEISLANDTRADER wrote:
Plenty of nice boys willing to entertain him in prison , maybe a bus mans holiday for HIM , The inmates will think its xmas , santa daddy has landed
You watch too much TV. Or you have too many prison rape fantasies.
[quote][p][bold]SPIKEISLANDTRADER[/bold] wrote: Plenty of nice boys willing to entertain him in prison , maybe a bus mans holiday for HIM , The inmates will think its xmas , santa daddy has landed[/p][/quote]You watch too much TV. Or you have too many prison rape fantasies. Georgem

11:23pm Fri 22 Feb 13

jonnyx says...

MGRA wrote:
this thread wins the "most pr1cks" who post on thread competition.....
comedy gold.
[quote][p][bold]MGRA[/bold] wrote: this thread wins the "most pr1cks" who post on thread competition.....[/p][/quote]comedy gold. jonnyx

11:11am Sat 23 Feb 13

cantthinkofone says...

Georgem wrote:
SPIKEISLANDTRADER wrote:
Plenty of nice boys willing to entertain him in prison , maybe a bus mans holiday for HIM , The inmates will think its xmas , santa daddy has landed
You watch too much TV. Or you have too many prison rape fantasies.
:-D
[quote][p][bold]Georgem[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]SPIKEISLANDTRADER[/bold] wrote: Plenty of nice boys willing to entertain him in prison , maybe a bus mans holiday for HIM , The inmates will think its xmas , santa daddy has landed[/p][/quote]You watch too much TV. Or you have too many prison rape fantasies.[/p][/quote]:-D cantthinkofone

7:15pm Sat 23 Feb 13

kingnotail says...

J.P.M wrote:
jonnyx wrote:
SPIKEISLANDTRADER wrote:
Plenty of nice boys willing to entertain him in prison , maybe a bus mans holiday for HIM , The inmates will think its xmas , santa daddy has landed
jesus what a grim post.
I take offence at your use of symbols of worship, to signify outrage.
Christ on a bike, chill out
[quote][p][bold]J.P.M[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]jonnyx[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]SPIKEISLANDTRADER[/bold] wrote: Plenty of nice boys willing to entertain him in prison , maybe a bus mans holiday for HIM , The inmates will think its xmas , santa daddy has landed[/p][/quote]jesus what a grim post.[/p][/quote]I take offence at your use of symbols of worship, to signify outrage.[/p][/quote]Christ on a bike, chill out kingnotail

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