Audio visual and event production company Big Purple Productions were defrauded out of more than £200,000 by their trusted office manager Amanda Toward, who has now been jailed for three years and four months after admitting the fraud.

Toward used her position in the company and her control of its finances to embezzle the money by making duplicate payments of actual payments made and paying the second payments into her bank account, the court heard. The use of the money included funding a reported six bottles of wine a day habit, expensive holidays in Mexico, a Range Rover and paying to be pictured with celebrities.

It was during a holiday in Mexico that Toward took last year that company director Eddie McKay noticed the duplicate payments on his firm’s bank statements and discovered that the fraud had been going on for a number of years. Accordingly she was sacked when she returned and arrested, telling the police that she had got herself into financial difficulties and family stress, and that it became “something of an addiction”.

Sentencing her the judge noted that Mr McKay had gone out of his way to help her with her family difficulties, with significant amounts of time off with pay, and that Toward had repaid his good-natured help by stealing from him and his company behind his back.

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