Couple responsible for £150,000 fraud at Stephen Terry's Hardwick restaurant told to repay just £1

The Staff Canteen

Nicola and Simon Nightingale defrauded Stephen Terry's Hardwick restaurant in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire out of £150,000 have been told to pay back just £1 following a long legal battle.

Former employee of Stephen Terry, Nicola Nightingale, worked as a financial administrator at the chef's Hardwick restaurant when she committed the fraud between 2018 and 2020.

The story reported by the South Wales Argus revealed Nicola pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position earlier this year after she had paid herself inflated wages, made payments into her and her husband's accounts and took out two £40,000 loans in Stephen's name.

She was also found to have generated fake invoices from fictitious suppliers.

Nicola's fraudlent activities were discovered by Stephen after it was revealed that loans had been taken out in his name as well as £10,000 shortfall in the business' pension pot.

In total, £46,741.57 had been transferred into her husband's bank account, with the pair enjoying luxury holidays from the proceeds.

Simon, who was found guilty of acquiring criminal property following a trial, had claimed he believed the cash was his wife's wages along with money for shifts he had carried out at the restaurant.

The couple who live in Kent were sentenced to two-years in prison suspended for two years at Cardiff Crown Court.

Despite the verdict, The Proceeds of Crime hearing heard that a "thorough" examination of the couple's finances revealed no releasable assets, with Judge Shomon Khan handing out £1 confiscation orders to be made for both parties.

Shomon Kahn said: "There has been a lot of interest in his case but there has been a thorough investigation and that's where we are in terms of the recoverable amount and this is as far as the courts can take it."

After their sentencing in May 2023, Stephen said it was an "absolute joke" that the couple walked free after defrauding his restaurant out of £150,000.

"I believe she would have ended us… the business would have gone under," Stephen said.

He added: "This should be a lesson for all people not to trust, do your research, get references and be aware of how your business is being run. We trusted her and unfortunately, she didn't fulfil her job title. Get involved in your business because I am sure it's going on as we speak and it's an absolute killer."


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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 7th September 2023

Couple responsible for £150,000 fraud at Stephen Terry's Hardwick restaurant told to repay just £1