A former finance director who spent almost three months on remand as the "only white collar worker" in Birmingham Prison was given a suspended prison sentence yesterday for covering up an #11 million black hole in a company's accounts.
Bill Jeffrey pleaded guilty to six charges relating to his time at Birmingham manufacturing company TransTec, which collapsed in 1999 with debts of about #100 million and the loss of 4,000 jobs.
Jeffrey (49), who lives in Brisbane, Australia, had not applied for bail when he pleaded guilty in January to charges relating to his failure to declare the #11 million black hole.
The company's former chief executive, Richard Carr, was cleared by a jury of similar charges last week after a three-month trial.
The #11 million related to a compensation settlement deal with car giant Ford which was not declared to the company's board, auditors, shareholders or the Stock Exchange.
Jeffrey was taken into custody at Winson Green Prison in January, where he shared his cell with six "hardened heroin addicts" in the first seven weeks, Birmingham Crown Court heard.
Peter Kyte QC, defending Jeffrey, said: "As an unsentenced prisoner, he was not given the privilege of an open prison and he has had to live in constant fear of attack from his fellow inmates.
"For many weeks he was not allowed to get his hair cut. He was deprived of reading material and re-read the Constant Gardner four times."
Referring to the acquittal of Mr Carr, from Bearley, Warwickshire, Mr Kyte said: "A normal person could be excused for feeling a little resentful that his chief executive has been acquitted by a jury who were told throughout the trail by the prosecution that this was a joint enterprise between the chief executive and finance director.
"But he feels no anger, no resentment at all. He was delighted that Mr Carr will not have to suffer what he has been through in the last three months in incarceration."
Mr Kyte QC said Jeffrey intended to open a cake shop in Brisbane and "is no longer interested in big business".
Jeffrey was sentenced to a nine-month prison term suspended for a year. He had pleaded guilty to five counts of publishing false accounts and one of misleading an auditor.