Wednesday 16 August 2017

Towie star became bargain hunter after meeting boyfriend, father tells court

Gary Kilbey said that while Daniel Harris was a
Gary Kilbey said that while Daniel Harris was a "good man" he did nothing to enhance his daughter Cara's life financially

Towie star Cara Kilbey went from fine dining at Nobu and The Ivy to hunting "buy one get one free" bargains after meeting her alleged drug dealer boyfriend, her father has said.

Wealthy businessman Gary Kilbey, who part-owns Fabric nightclub, gave evidence at the Old Bailey in defence of Daniel Harris, who has a young child with his daughter.

The prosecution alleged Harris, 33, made vast profits at the helm of a cocaine dealing empire dispatching drugs around central London on mopeds with a turnover of £500,000 a week.

But Mr Kilbey, of Loughton, Essex, said that while Harris was a "good man" he did nothing to enhance his daughter's life financially - and if anything it was the reverse.

The 57-year-old told jurors that the success of his Tech-en business had made him a "very wealthy" man.

He also spent time running tax-free spread betting accounts for himself and his three children, the court heard.

He estimated that Ms Kilbey's accounts alone made her a profit of £70,000 in 2015.

Mr Kilbey said he was "very close" to his daughter and often visited her flat in Theydon Bois, Essex, with his wife.

He made sure she was never short of money and gave her two Porsche cars which Harris was also seen driving by police surveillance teams, the court heard.

He first met Harris after the couple got together in Spain in the summer of 2014 and learned they were living together in December of that year.

Mr Kilbey said: "He talked a lot about his education, he told me about his City life. We got on very well."

The witness said his daughter was "fundamentally" changed as a result of meeting former banker Harris and becoming pregnant.

The "social animal" who would "push it hard" became more interested in "buy one get one free" in the shops, he said.

Mr Kilbey said he gave Harris £50,000 to set up a Cross Fit venture in exchange for being his "Man Friday" and helping retrieve some debts.

He said £25,000 was to set up the gym, £10,000 to help Harris clear up his tax bill and £15,000 was for living expenses.

He said the defendant was "100% genuine" and enthusiastic about his fitness business.

Mr Kilbey described Harris as "really strong" after Ms Kilbey lost a first child after appearing in a magazine photo shoot posing with her baby bump.

At the time, he gave the couple £4,000 to take a holiday to Abu Dhabi and Ko Samui in Thailand, the court heard.

During 2015, Mr Kilbey said he would always pick up the bill when he went out with Harris and his daughter.

He said: "He always wanted to pay. He's a good man. He just didn't have any money."

Asked who benefited from the relationship, Mr Kilbey said: "He didn't enhance her life. If anything it was the other way.

"I was happy it was the other way, because she was overdoing it."

Harris denies plotting to supply cocaine and heroin and possessing criminal property, cash totalling £116,000 which was found stashed in his young daughter's bedroom following his arrest.

Press Association

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