A cheating businesswoman stole more than £128,000 from an estate agents to fund an affair with her personal trainer – right under the nose of her business partner husband.
Lettings boss Joanne Barker, 46, fleeced rental payments earmarked for property landlords after she began a secret fling with Andrew Taylor, despite being married to and working with her husband Paul.
Throughout the course of 2014 to 2018, the mother-of-one also went behind the backs of Ian and Jo-Anne Tweedley, the couple’s best friends and fellow directors of the agency Barton Kendall, based in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.
Mrs Barker was finally unmasked as a thief when various landlords, who had assigned the agency to collect money from tenants, complained about not getting their pay.
What investigations revealed
Investigations later revealed how Mrs Barker diverted money from the firm’s client account into her own personal bank account – which she used to make rental payments to a fictitious landlord and pay for a £3,640 central heating system at her £400,000 marital home, Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court heard.
She also used her lover’s bank account to deposit £8,586 worth of stolen cash and allowed him to live rent-free for six months in one of the firm’s properties.
Neither Mrs Barker’s husband or her secret lover were aware of any wrongdoing.
Victim Impact Statement
In a statement Mr Tweedley, 57, who is managing director at Barton Kendall with his 52-year old wife said: ‘Jo and I worked tirelessly to build up and maintain the business in really difficult times and we became one of the leading lettings agencies in the area with a longstanding reputation.
‘I thought life was rosy, I thought we were financially secure albeit not rich, the mortgage was nearly paid off and I was gearing up to retire at 60. When we took on Joanne, she became a trusted family friend and I felt assured she would run the business in my absence.
‘But all that came crashing down when I found out she was siphoning off clients’ money from the business and stealing all the tenants deposits. That day was the worst of my life. I was in the office at 3am as I couldn’t sleep and my heart sunk as I realised my business was in tatters.
‘That same morning my sister rang me to say my nephew had been involved a in tragic accident and lost his life. I was numb, I hit rock bottom and we were truly at a horrendous point in our lives.’