Son denies he stole cash while he ran company

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The former managing director of a family-owned company at Risby has denied stealing thousands of pounds from the business.

Andrew Gowing, 42, told a jury at Ipswich Crown Court this week that his only intention after being left in charge at Gowing Auto Salvage when his father moved to New Zealand had been to make it a success.

He admitted that items of private expenditure had been paid for by the company, ranging from a cat flap to aromatherapy for his wife, but said it had been in error.

Giving evidence, Gowing, of School Road, Pentlow, near Sudbury, also said he had perpetuated ‘dubious’ business practices shown to him by his father John Gowing.

Gowing said that rather than steal from the business, he had increased annual profits from £400,000 to £800,000 during the four years he was in charge at the company in Newmarket Road, Risby.

He denied having taken cash, vehicles and used the company to pay bills ‘as if it were his own’,

Mr Gowing senior said in evidence last week that he had become concerned about a lack of information about what was happening at the business and decided to make an unannounced visit to the UK when he discovered a number of alleged thefts by his son.

Earlier, office manager Lorraine Sykes told the court that she was ordered to carry out an investigation in the wake of John Gowing’s visit.

Mrs Sykes said non-business expenditure included a Sunday lunch for four people in Rutland, topsoil delivered to Gowing’s home, a shower, pewter door knobs and garden tools.

Other non-business expenditure identified included £2,584 paid to a firm of garden contractors.

Mrs Sykes said that while the same firm maintained grounds at Gowing Auto Salvage, they were normally only paid about £150 a month.

Gowing has denied stealing cash, five offences of theft of credit balances amounting in total to more than £19,000 and stealing three cars including a Porsche and a quad bike.

On Wednesday, Judge David Goodin directed the jury to return a not guilty verdict on one charge of theft after prosecution offered no further evidence on it.

The trial continues.