Journalist who stole pounds 138,000 is jailed

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The Independent Online
A FORMER Daily Mirror features editor who swindled the newspaper group out of nearly pounds 140,000 was jailed for 18 months yesterday.

Roger Collier, 47, set up two bogus companies to carry out the long-running series of thefts, Knightsbridge Crown Court was told.

For nearly four years, he submitted claims for work he said he had commissioned from the firms.

But the cheques made out to them by Mirror Group Newspapers were channelled into bank accounts he controlled and used to look after his wife and children and his mistress, said Ian Stern, for the prosecution.

Collier admitted 17 charges of theft and asked for 60 similar offences to be considered.

Judge Richard Walker said he had given Collier credit for his pleas of guilty and the co-operation he had given to police. Concurrent sentences of 18 months would be passed on each count.

Mr Stern told the court that Collier stole a total of pounds 138,225 between September 1989 and June 1993.

After being appointed features editor in 1988, he was able to commission articles and authorise payments for them. Collier, of Richmond, south-west London, submitted payment claims for work he said had been provided by two firms - Westbury, based in Liverpool, and Wizard Features, of Islington, north London.

But both companies were bogus operations.

Sharon Baxter, for the defence, said Collier had fallen into 'a pattern of crime to support not one family but a second', which he had formed with his mistress.