The boss of a Leamington interior design company will not be sentenced until next year – after her former partner failed to turn up at court and a judge issued a warrant for his arrest.
Jane Jobson and Terence Naylor, who was both her partner and business partner at the time they cheated customers and other businesses, had been due to be sentenced at Warwick Crown Court.
Jobson (54) of Browns Lane, Coventry, had denied aiding and abetting Naylor to take part in the management of Jane Jobson (Contracts) Ltd while he was an undischarged bankrupt.
She also denied fraudulent trading by carrying on the Leamington-based business with intent to defraud its creditors – but was convicted of both charges at the end of a five-week trial.
Naylor (55) of Naylor Crescent, Nantwich, Cheshire, had pleaded guilty to taking part in the management of the company while an undischarged bankrupt and fraudulent trading.
He also admitted identical charges in relation to Jane Jobson (Interior Design) Ltd, based in Regent Grove, Leamington, which went into liquidation as Jane Jobson (Contracts) Ltd began operating from the same address.
Following Jobson’s conviction, Judge Stephen Eyre QC had adjourned for a pre-sentence report to be prepared on her – and she and Naylor were due to be sentenced together.
When Naylor failed to turn up, leaving Jobson alone in the dock, Judge Eyre issued a warrant for his arrest.
And prosecutor Simon Davis argued that Jobson should not be sentenced on her own, explaining: “Her case was that it was all down to Naylor, and my submission is that Your Honour should hear both mitigations at the same time.”
Jonathan Veasey-Pugh, defending, said Jobson, who has been told it was ‘highly likely’ she will be jailed, wanted to be dealt with, even though her father had died recently and his funeral is due to take place on January 8.
Adjourning the case, and granting her bail, Judge Eyre told Jobson: “It is not your fault you cannot be dealt with today.
“But inevitably there are common factors which apply to your case and to Mr Naylor’s, so it is appropriate that all the submissions on those matters are put before me at the same time.”
During the trial Mr Davis said: “The prosecution case is that Miss Jobson and Mr Naylor were trading fraudulently with the intention of defrauding their customers. They offered interior design and building work, and took large deposits.
“On occasions deposits were over £10,000, so we are talking big money, and on occasions the customer got absolutely nothing or, on occasion, something, but not what they ordered.”
On the question of whether Jobson was aware of what was going on, Mr Davis said that although she was the sole director of the two companies, they were seen as joint owners, and were not just in a business relationship, but were partners at the time.
Jane Jobson (Interior Design) Ltd was incorporated in January 2011 and went into liquidation in March the following year, owing nearly £100,000.
Jane Jobson (Contracts) Ltd, was incorporated in February 2012 and wound up in January 2014, owing around £400,000.
Mr Davis said that in 2011 a ten-year lease was signed for the premises in Regent Grove, with an annual rent of £19,500 – but by July 2013 the landlords were owed £32,000.
The shop was fitted to a high standard to provide comfort and ‘an air of respectability,’ but invoices from suppliers which included the Polished Floor Company in Regent Street went unpaid.
With many disgruntled customers, Naylor attended a county court hearing to face a creditor’s claim, before the company went into liquidation and re-emerged as Jane Jobson (Contracts) Ltd.
But a further succession of customers paid deposits and payments ranging from £10,000 to as much as £27,000 in one case, and £58,000 in another, for work including kitchens, bathrooms and extensions which were never completed.
Mr Davis told the jury: “Both defendants were equal trading partners in the company. They were taking large deposits and there were subsequent failures to order goods or do work.”
And he argued that if Jobson did not know of Naylor’s situation initially, and was not aware of what was happening with Jane Jobson (Interior Design) Ltd customers, she must have known and been involved in what went on with the successor company.