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‘Blackmailed’ gay man jailed for stealing £170k

‘Blackmailed’ gay man jailed for stealing £170k

A British gay man who claims he was being blackmailed by his wife has gone to jail for stealing thousands from his employer.

Christopher Brown, 55, will be jailed for two years, and must pay £4800  ($7300, €5500) in costs.

The theft was discovered after an internal audit at the luxury goods company Dawson’s, where Brown is employed.

Brown paid 56 company checks into his bank account, and claims he faced was blackmailed by his wife after she discovered he was using gay chatlines.

Referring to them as ‘expenses’, he claims he had to pay for private education for their son, hotel stays, dining out and a Florida holiday home.

‘She took exception…I was desperate not to leave the family so I got into his financial mess’, he said, reports The Daily Mail.

Brown was charged with theft in June 2013. He denied the charges, separated from his wife and moved to France with his new male partner to live together in a bed and breakfast.

He was found guilty of theft but he refused to return to England. In 2009 a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) was issued.

Brown was arrested in October 2011 by French police and returned to the UK in April 2011.

During the trial, Brown said he had borrowed the money, and had repaid £120,000 ($181k, €136) to Dawson’s. His defense described it as ‘a very unusual set of circumstances’.

‘He didn’t believe he was acting dishonestly; some of the stolen funds were repaid,’ they said.

Judge Recorder James Watson said: ‘You chose to siphon off cash from company business accounts to fund your own financial expenditure.

‘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.’

Detective Constable Andrew Stuckes, of Dorset police, said: ‘Mr Brown had to be forced to return from abroad and has now, rightly, been held to account for his actions.’