A Birmingham businessman yesterday told a court he arrived at his girlfriend's house to find her burning #90,000 on a barbecue.
Diane Fisher (39) claims she set light to the cash during a bitter legal wrangle with her ex-lover Paul Clark.
Fisher, of Shrubbery Close, Sutton Coldfield, was convicted by a jury in March of illegally concealing #90,000 she owed Mr Clark.
She was given a two-year conditional discharge and confiscation proceedings to retrieve the money began at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday.
During the trial, the prosecution alleged that Fisher may have used some of the cash to help fund the purchase of a property by her current boyfriend, Winston Thomas.
Mr Thomas paid a #70,000 deposit on a house in Shrubbery Close, where he now lives with Fisher and their young baby, in January 2003 ? less than three months after Fisher claimed to have destroyed the money.
Mr Thomas, who owns jewellery shops in Birmingham city centre and Kings Heath, said he arrived at the house in Westwood Road, Streetly, where Fisher had previously lived with Mr Clark, in October 2002 to find she had burned the money.
He said: ?I got there after midnight. The lights were on and Diane wasn?t there. I got a phone call from Diane but she wasn?t in the house.
?The back door was open. I went outside and Diane was on the patio, crying. She said ?That?s the end of it, I?ve done it. I?ve burnt the money?.? He said there was an empty bottle of vodka next to her and she was drunk. He said he went over to the barbecue, which was smouldering, and saw the notes. He said: ?As I tried to pick them up they disintegrated in my hands.?
When asked by Judge Alistair McCreath why he had not come forward with that evidence before Fisher?s trial, he claimed he had been advised by his solicitor that he would not be needed as a witness.
Mr Thomas said he had not been given money by Fisher to buy the house in Shrubbery Close. He said the money for the deposit had come from his friends and family, including his brother and sister, who repaid loans he had given them totalling #65,000.
Mr Thomas recently took out a #20,000 loan against the property to pay off credit card debts, but denied that it was because he wanted to ?clear the decks? ahead of the confiscation hearing.
Earlier, Fisher told the court her relationship with Mr Clark had ended in 1998, after which he launched legal proceedings to receive a share of the property they had lived in together in Westwood Road.
In January 2002 Mr Clark obtained a county court judgment for 40 per cent interest in the property, plus his costs, which remain unpaid. Fisher said she then took out a loan of #92,353 with the Cheltenham and Gloucester Building Society which was secured on the property and paid into a bank account in August 2002.
By the following January, Mr Clark still had not seen any of his share of the money and applied to the county court for a freezing order on Fisher?s assets. As a result, she petitioned for bankruptcy and was interviewed by the Official Receiver.
Despite her conviction, Fisher still insists she put the money on the barbecue after she became angry with Mr Clark, who refused her offer to settle for #50,000.
She said: ?I did what I said. I burned the money. I realise it was stupid and I wish now that I hadn?t done it.
?At the time I had been drinking and I felt that it wouldn?t have mattered if I had offered Mr Clark a million pounds because he wanted to destroy me.? She denied giving the money to Mr Thomas for the deposit on the house in Shrubbery Close.
The hearing continues.