England

Network Rail boss found dead in Essex 'took bribes'

A former Network Rail manager committed suicide after taking bribes from two corrupt company executives.

Anthony Burgess was showered with tens of thousands of pounds of cash, five star holidays and Porsche car parts. He was found dead with his wife in 2009.

Peter Sale, 50, of Tadworth, Surrey, and Anthony Whittington, 48, of Abridge, Essex, were convicted of corruption earlier this year.

The details can be revealed after reporting restrictions were lifted.

Although Sale and Whittington were sentenced in September, the case could not be reported because proceedings were still active against two other defendants, who have now been acquitted.

Found with wife

Mr Burgess had been sacked from his £75,000-a-year job overseeing the refurbishment of company offices in 2008, following an internal inquiry.

Police were investigating the financial irregularities when Mr Burgess was found dead with his wife Marian, 51, at their home in Clavering in January of the following year.

Sue Patten, head of central fraud at the Crown Prosecution Service, said Sale gave Mr Burgess more than £21,000, parts for a Porsche and parts for a new bathroom.

His firm installed air conditioning units and provided electrical and mechanical engineering services.

'Crossed the line'

By 2006, Sale Service carried out major works for Network Rail and accepted paying Mr Burgess £6,716 with the intention of favouring his company or as a reward, prosecutors added.

"He also admitted to fraud by false representation where he submitted a duplicate invoice to Network Rail for services for which Sale Service had already been paid.

"Sale clearly knew that the relationship was corrupt and crossed the line at the time of the offence because he hid documents from the police."

Whittington's firm WWP Consultants was a building consultancy firm dealing with mechanical, electrical and public health engineering issues.

He provided trips to New York, Monaco and Rome and a cheque for £7,500, all in 2006, "as an inducement or reward to show favour to his business" from Mr Burgess, Ms Patten said.

In return, Mr Burgess ditched suppliers already employed to carry out project work for Network Rail buildings.

WWP invoiced and were paid £1,739,991.70 by Network Rail.

Whittington, who pleaded not guilty, is serving a 12-month jail term after being sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court on 2 September.

Sale was given a 12-month jail term, suspended for two years, after admitting his part in the scam at Woolwich Crown Court.

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