BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 6 June, 2001, 15:12 GMT 16:12 UK
Archer secretary 'fiddled expenses'
Angela Peppiatt arrives at court
Angela Peppiatt: Entertaining was "part of her job"
The former secretary to Jeffrey Archer has been accused in court of fiddling expenses while she worked for the best-selling author.

Angela Peppiatt, a prosecution witness in the perjury trial of her former boss, was quizzed about numerous receipts for lunches and dinners.

She also told the Old Bailey Lord Archer could be "extremely unpredictable".

Lord Jeffrey Archer
Lord Archer: Accused of perjury
The court heard that Mrs Peppiatt, 56, used to submit expense claims and receipts to Lord Archer's accountants, and then reimburse herself from cheques pre-signed by the novelist.

She agreed that in November 1985, she had submitted a claim for 1,108.51 following the Conservative Party conference in October in Blackpool.

Asked about the claim for this amount, she agreed that this had included receipts for dinners or lunches.

Two had included meals at restaurants near her children's schools - nowhere near Conservative Central Office, the court heard.

Nicholas Purnell QC, defending, suggested they had nothing to do with Lord Archer.

Mrs Peppiatt said she could not remember, but there was nothing to suggest she had not been having a meal with a colleague.

'Unpredictable'

Mrs Peppiatt was asked by Mr Purnell whether she thought Lord Archer was "very mean".

Mrs Peppiatt said: "My opinion changed during the period I worked for him."

Mr Purnell said: "Had he become very mean?"


You discovered that you could, undetected, put through expenses without being questioned and you escalated the amounts that you put through

Nicholas Purnell QC, defending, to Angela Peppiatt
Mrs Peppiatt replied: "I would not use the word mean. Jeffrey was extremely unpredictable, that's all I can say."

She added: "Jeffrey could on some occasions say one thing and do completely another."

Mr Purnell then suggested that because of Mrs Peppiatt's authority, her expense claims were never questioned.

He said: "I'm suggesting you had no authority to entertain at Lord Archer's expense ... You discovered that you could, undetected, put through expenses without being questioned and you escalated the amounts that you put through."

Mrs Peppiatt denied this, saying Lord Archer had "actively encouraged" her to entertain.

"It was well-known that entertaining was a part of my job," she added.

'Claimed twice'

Mr Purnell also said that on one occasion a lunch had been claimed for twice. Mrs Peppiatt admitted this had happened but said she did not know how.

She said that Lord Archer's accountants would have alerted her if there had been any irregularities.

However, Mr Purnell suggested she knew the accountants were not doing their job very well, so she began to claim expenses twice.

BBC correspondent Ben McCarthy, at the Old Bailey, said exchanges between Mr Purnell and Mrs Peppiatt had been getting "quite heated".

The hearing was adjourned until Thursday.

Lord Archer, 61, resigned from his unpaid post as deputy chairman of the Conservative Party in October 1986 after press reports that he had associated with a prostitute.

The following year he was awarded 500,000 damages in the High Court after suing the Daily Star for libel when it alleged he had slept with the woman.

Lord Archer denies seven charges alleging dishonesty in relation to that action - four counts of perverting justice, two of perjury and one of using a diary as a false instrument.

His former friend, television producer Ted Francis, 67, from Surrey, denies one charge of perverting justice.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
reports on the trial
See also:

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes