British model Erin O’Connor’s personal assistant is to be sentenced today for stealing thousands of pounds from her boss to fund her own lavish lifestyle.
Michelle Knox-Brown, 46, abused her position to fund holidays to Morocco, India, Spain and America using the Marks & Spencer model’s credit card.
The trusted aide frequently ordered cars on O’Connor’s taxi account and, on one occasion, even went as far as to buy herself a new bathroom for her flat in Hackney, east London.
Knox-Brown, of Glyn Road, east London, admitted two counts of fraud. These included stealing £10,251.32 (€11,494.26) and spending £1,607.44 (€1,802.54) on the taxis.
She is due to be sentenced at Kingston Crown Court and has been warned she could face jail. A previous hearing at the court was told by prosecutor Jonathan Polnay that the “complex” fraud involved “literally hundreds of relatively low-value transactions”.
The court heard how, during her four years of employment with O’Connor, she was given access to the model’s personal information and bank accounts.
Soon after she was hired, in 2007, she began to splash out on purchases for herself. Armed with the pin number to O’Connor’s HSBC card, she set off on exotic holidays, withdrawing cash while she was abroad to finance the trips.
Travel to and from the airport was often by taxi, always charged to O’Connor’s tab. Cars were also used on nights out with friends, prosecutors said. The defendant’s three-year scam was only brought to a halt when O’Connor, the former face of Marks & Spencer, became suspicious of the taxi bills.
Knox-Brown was granted bail ahead of today’s sentencing on the condition she does not make contact with O’Connor.