Apprentice boss 'wronged' by Stella English

Stella English
Image caption Stella English won the BBC show in 2010

Alan Sugar believed a businesswoman who won TV's The Apprentice was trying to damage his reputation, an employment tribunal has heard.

Judgement has been reserved in the case of Stella English, 34, who is claiming constructive dismissal from Lord Sugar's IT firm, Viglen.

Ms English, who earned £100,000 a year, claimed she had no real role at the company.

The decision from the tribunal panel is expected within a month.

Earlier, Lord Sugar told the East London Tribunal Centre he had no case to answer.

He said Ms English was effectively blackmailing him.

Lord Sugar's representative Seamus Sweeney, said: "The claimant has, in the eyes of Lord Sugar, deliberately courted the media with a view of damaging his reputation."

He said Ms English had "sold her story" to the press several times and he accused her of being a "headline-grabber", deliberately sensationalising aspects of her evidence.

'Feels wronged'

Lord Sugar, who gave evidence to the hearing last week, had admitted "losing his cool" when being questioned.

Mr Sweeney said: "Lord Sugar has maintained his position, his dignity, until he comes here.

"He can be forgiven in these circumstances for reacting passionately in his cross-examination because he feels wronged."

The tribunal heard Ms English resigned from Viglen in May 2011 and then felt pressurised into taking up a new position at Lord Sugar's internet set-top box company YouView.

Lord Sugar said he was trying to help her out by offering her a new position as she had complained of being "desperate for money".

He told the hearing there was no full-time position available at YouView and it had been explained that contractual work might be possible instead.

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