Page last updated at 16:51 GMT, Thursday, 6 August 2009 17:51 UK

Celebrity chef conman is jailed

Jamie Oliver
Goldsmith claimed to have flushed Jamie Oliver's head down a toilet

A conman who endeared himself to his victims by claiming to be friends with Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Kenneth Goldsmith, 40, formerly of Norton Disney, Lincolnshire, claimed to have trained as a chef in Paris.

He persuaded entrepreneurs to set up in business with him then used the firm's money to fund a lavish lifestyle.

He admitted 20 counts of fraud, theft and using criminal property totalling £120,000 at Lincoln Crown Court.

The court heard Goldsmith used the money to pay for five-star holidays, Aston Martin cars and helicopter rides with his partner Kirsty Emmans, 38.

'False persona'

Emmans had also earlier admitted 11 counts of fraud and one charge of theft totalling £70,000.

The court was told the pair ran a gastro-pub in Norton Disney, which was successful at first but Goldsmith then began to pay the bills with his victims' money.

Jonathan Dee, prosecuting, said: "In essence this is about a series of frauds based around a common prowess of Mr Goldsmith's larger-than-life but false persona.

It's been said that this defendant is something of a Walter Mitty character
John Lennon, defence barrister

"One anecdote he kept telling people was that when he was much younger he flushed Jamie Oliver's head down the toilet.

"He was actually a very talented conman and, indeed, the celebrity chef persona had an element of truth to it because he had managed to get on television a number of times."

John Lennon, defending, said: "It's been said that this defendant is something of a Walter Mitty character and perhaps a fantasist.

"It was said he suffered a mental breakdown a few years ago and may have mental health issues."

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