Couple who stole £150000 from Great British Menu's Stephen Terry spared jail time

Alex South

Alex South


The Hardwick’s Chef Owner, Stephen Terry, has told BBC News he is “gobsmacked” after a judge decided against jailing a couple who stole £150,000 from his restaurant.

Stephen, who has previously held a Michelin star at The Walnut Tree and featured in Great British Menu, was frauded by former colleagues Nicola and Simon Nightingale who previosuly worked at his restaurant in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire.

The pair avoided jail time receiving instead suspended sentences for their actions.

Commenting on this decision, Judge Barry Clarke ruled that sending both defendants to prison would have a “lasting, negative impact on [the children] and upon their development.

Instead, both Nicola and her husband Simon will each be given suspended two-year sentences and must also complete 100 hours of unpaid work.

The pair’s crimes were first suspected in March 2020, when Stephen became suspicious of Nicola’s behaviour and tried to contact her and her husband about irregularities in the accounts.

Despite this, neither replied to with Nicola then resigning as an office administrator via an email.

Stephen then contacted the police who discovered that, over a two-year period, Nicola Nightingale had transferred almost £47,000 into her husband's bank account, made direct payments of more than £50,000 to her own account, inflated her wages by £6,000 and made additional payments to herself disguised as paid wages of £47,000.

In addition, two £40,000 loans had been taken out The Hardwick’s chef owner’s name without his permission.

In a victim impact statement published by BBC News, Stephen said what happened had "no doubt" damaged his reputation. Stephen said: "The impact of being defrauded of such a significant amount of money and having large outstanding payments to my suppliers is potentially devastating.”

Outside court, Stephen said he was "gobsmacked" by the judge's decision.

"To be here today and to get that news that they would both be given suspended sentences, it's an absolute joke," he told reporters.

He told the BBC: "They've had £150,000 from a small business. We don't make a lot of money. It's a labour of love, it's a passion.

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Alex South

Alex South

Editor 23rd May 2023

Couple who stole £150000 from Great British Menu's Stephen Terry spared jail time