Page last updated at 17:47 GMT, Friday, 22 January 2010

Jailed pair stole 7m from University of Birmingham

Paul Sadler and Christine Eggleton
The scale of Sadler's offending was "astounding", the court heard.

Two people who stole about £7m from a subsidiary company of the University of Birmingham have been jailed.

Paul Sadler, 50, of Worcester, and Christine Eggleton, 51, of Birmingham, were jailed for six and two years respectively, for theft and fraud.

They were employed by the university's subsidiary firm, Birmingham Research and Development Ltd.

Birmingham Crown Court heard managing director Sadler had a "pathological" gambling habit.

Eggleton, of Farren Road, worked as the firm's book keeper.

Holiday with mistress

Judge Patrick Thomas QC heard Sadler spent £2m at a casino over 10 years.

The court was also told suspicions about the pair's activities were raised when Sadler, of London Road, holidayed in Bermuda with a mistress.

Sadler and Eggleton admitted conspiracy to defraud and a single count of theft at an earlier hearing.

Sadler admitted taking £4,999,516 over a 10-year period while Eggleton admitted taking £2,085,539.

The judge described the fraud as a gross breach of trust.

"It was a simple and straightforward fraud," he said.

"It simply involved you fabricating invoices and everybody who knew you trusted you to be accurate."

The criminal justice system would be a "laughing stock" if people could steal millions and walk away from court, he added.

Later civil action has recovered £1,400,000 from Eggleton and £800,000 from Sadler.

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