A Birmingham businesswoman was convicted yesterday of concealing property after a jury rejected claims she destroyed #90,000 on a barbecue during a bitter legal wrangle with her ex-lover.
Diane Fisher (39) was found guilty at Birmingham Crown Court of a single charge brought under the Insolvency Act. Sentencing was adjourned until March 30.
The mother-of-three (pictured), of Shrubbery Close, Sutton Coldfield, sobbed in the dock after the jury decided she had illegally concealed #90,000 she owed Paul Clark to settle a financial dispute.
The court had heard how Mr Clark obtained a county court judgment for a 40 per cent interest in the property which they had shared in Westwood Road, Streetly, following the break up of their relationship.
Nicholas Smith, prosecuting, said as a result of the proceedings Fisher had been left owing a fairly large sum of money to her former partner.
He said Fisher took out a loan of #92,353 with the Cheltenham & Gloucester building society which was secured on the property and later petitioned for bankruptcy.
During a bankruptcy hearing, Fisher claimed she had destroyed the money on a barbecue on the evening of Friday October 4, 2002 after getting drunk.
Fisher told the court the cash went up in smoke after Mr Clark rejected an offer to settle the row over the property debt.
"I thought I was going to lose my children for good. I thought they would take them from me," she said.
"After the children had gone to bed I started drinking. I went outside and we had a big purpose-built barbecue area.
"I put the money on there, most of it, and I found some white spirit in the garage and tipped it over and set fire to the money."
During the trial, the prosecution alleged Fisher may have used some of the cash to help fund the purchase of a property by her current boyfriend or have hidden part of it in Spain.