Robert Parker jailed for swindling £300k from Nina Chivers

image captionRobert Parker, 28, turned up at Cardiff Crown Court with his bag packed - before being jailed by a judge

An estate agent boss has spoken of her betrayal after a worker she "cared for like a son" swiped more than £300,000 from her firm. 

Robert Parker, 28, of Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, spent the cash on designer goods and expensive holidays abroad.

Parker claimed discrepancies in the firm's accounts were because of a software glitch, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

He later admitted theft, and was jailed for three years and two months.

'Ruined my life'

His former boss Nina Chivers, who owns Nina Estate Agents in Barry, addressed the defendant directly in court while reading aloud her victim impact statement.

She said: "Mr Parker has ruined my life and my family's life. He has been a family friend and part of our family life since he was 14.

"He would go cycling with my husband and take part in family events and often refer to me as his second mum.

"I cannot escape the image I saw on the office CCTV of him kissing a wad of money and then placing it into a suit I had previously bought him.

"I have suffered financially which I will never recover from."

media captionNina Chivers says her business has not recovered from the loss

Parker started working at Nina Estate Agents in 2009 after dropping out of university and was soon promoted to lettings manager.

The court heard he manipulated management accounts and used false records to steal money so it went unnoticed.

However, concerns were raised when the company's growth was not reflected in its profits.

Online purchases

When Parker was confronted by his boss, he continually denied any wrongdoing and said a computer software programme was inaccurate. 

Colleagues said he would have expensive online purchases delivered to the office and brag about winning thousands of pounds from bets on horse racing.

Police later found Parker had stolen £302,000 between 2012 and 2017.  

He later told detectives he had developed a severe gambling addiction, at one stage placing bets of £50,000 a month. 

Judge Niclas Parry said "This is a total betrayal of trust. As the business grew so did your fraud.

"You offended to feed your greed and  gambling addiction.

"But you enjoyed the trappings this wealth bought, and you were brazen enough to have expensive purchases delivered to the office and talk about your spending and gambling to colleagues."

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