Gripping yarn that was out of this world

People & Business

The London insurance broker who offers insurance against road rage, death by poltergeist and post traumatic stress disorder for Newcastle United fans suffering from the departure of Kevin Keegan has come clean on his big Christmas hoax.

He did not pay out pounds 1m to Joseph Carpenter who claimed he had been abducted by aliens.

Simon Burgess of Grip, a self-confessed publicity seeker, said yesterday: "It was a good Christmas tale. Joseph the Carpenter claims he saw a star- shaped spaceship coming in from the East witnessed by three wise men." He is still dining out on the tale and is off to Rome next week to appear on a chat show.

A spoof insurance policy junkie who makes things up to escape the humdrum world of insurance, Mr Burgess is already working on his next stunt: the Millennium Virgin policy.

It will insure chaste maidens against immaculate conception. He is hoping to arrange for - guess who - Richard Branson to present the cheque.

John Hoerner of Burton has won the NatWest Securities retailer of the year award. The amiable American topped the poll ahead of Sir Graham Kirkham of DFS Furniture and Lord MacLaurin of Tesco, who finished third for the second year running.

Mr Hoerner, who became chief executive in 1992, secured nearly 20 per cent of the votes, making him a clear winner. John Richards, NatWest's stores analyst, said: "Burton has come back from the dead twice and its current renaissance under the quiet but determined guidance of John Hoerner looks far more durable than its 1980s rise." Since his appointment as chief executive Burton's profits has risen from pounds 6m to pounds 150m.

Also featuring in the poll were Sir Geoff Mulcahy of Kingfisher, marking a return to form and a first appearance from Carpetright wizard Lord Harris of Peckham. Last year's winner was Archie Norman of Asda.

Fortune magazine need not have been surprised that its attempt this week to place a full-page advertisement in the Wall Street Journal was greeted with a firm "No thank you".

Even though it would have provided revenue of $100,000, the ad in question was not to the taste of the Journal's owner, the Dow Jones company.

It was to have promoted recent articles in Fortune detailing a revolt by Dow Jones shareholders about its stagnant share price and exposing the activities of Michael Price, the prominent New York money manager, who has accumulated more than 5 per cent of the company.

In comments that other Journal rivals took pleasure in reporting yesterday, including the New York Times, Fortune's head of marketing, John Needham, said: "It appeared that senior management of Dow Jones is interfering directly in the operation of the Journal."

Pat Carter, the dapper chief executive at Westminster Healthcare, is developing something of a love affair with Scotland if his latest expansion plans are anything to go by.

And there is something fishy about the notoriously keen angler's choice of locations. Westminster operates the most northerly nursing home in Britain in Thurso, Caithness. This property was acquired when the wader- clad Mr Carter was indulging in a spot of salmon fishing in the area.

Now he is setting his sights further north and is considering opening another home in Orkney. This choice has nothing at all to do with the high quality and free brown trout fishing to be enjoyed in most of the local lochs.

Roger North looked a distracted man yesterday. The Ushers of Trowbridge chief executive was in the City drumming up support for the pub and brewing group's forthcoming float but was on the edge of his seat throughout lunch.

About to become a grandfather for the first time, he was keen to dash to a phone to check on his daughter-in-law's progress.

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

BA/PM,EMIR/Dodd-Frank,London,£450-650P/D

£450 - £650 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Senior Analyst - ALM Data - Banking - Halifax

£350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Analyst, ALM Data, Halifax, ...

Java developer - Banking - London - Up to £600/day

£500 - £600 per day: Orgtel: Java developer - Banking - London - Up to £600/d...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star