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Duffield was 'vile', sacked fund manager tells court

A bitter battle between former friends Patrick Evershed and John Duffield hit the courts yesterday. Ex-New Star fund manager Mr Evershed began his case for constructive dismissal against his former employer, which is now part of the Henderson Group.

Mr Evershed, 70, claims he was unfairly dismissed from New Star in 2008 after sending a whistleblowing email about Mr Duffield's behaviour. In the email – sent to New Star's human resources department – Mr Evershed wrote that Mr Duffield "has been most vile to most of the fund managers for several years and bullying us".

In a lively start to the employment tribunal case – which is expected to last for 10 days – Mr Evershed's lawyer, Daphne Romney, claimed that Mr Duffield called the fund managers "morons and criminals" and created an "unpleasant atmosphere" at the firm. She added that Mr Evershed described Mr Duffield as "angry, antagonistic and unpleasant". Mr Evershed is claiming for loss of earnings of more than £1m. He had been recruited in 2002 by New Star founder Mr Duffield, who had previously founded Jupiter fund managers.

Mr Duffield left Jupiter acrimonously in 1999 before setting up New Star. After Mr Evershed's departure New Star was subsequently bought by rival Henderson in 2009, although the new owners were aware of the case. A Henderson spokesman said: "This is a legacy issue we inherited as part of the acquisition of New Star. It is up to the employment tribunal to decide. Henderson will vigorously defend this claim at the tribunal."