Brotherston: abandoned in the US
A former reporter with the Express & Star, Wolverhampton, has written a devastating account in the newspaper of her experience in Los Angeles after she went to work for ex-Fleet Street journalist Peter Bond.
Faith Brotherston, who was at the Cannock office of the Express & Star for four years, flew to LA on 6 January to take up her “dream job” as a celebrity reporter with Bond’s Headline news agency. She felt, she said, “as though I was living a fairytale”.
Bond, who used to work for The Sun and the Daily Star, invited her to live with him and his wife in their apartment in Marina Del Ray for the first few weeks.
She found the job stressful but exciting. But three weeks later an armed police team burst into the office and surrounded her desk. They had a search warrant and quizzed her for 45 minutes about her boss.
When she got back to Bond’s flat, she was told that three former employees had made allegations against him of downloading pornographic images of children on to his computer.
Two days later, on 30 January, Bond folded the company, telling her he believed his reputation would be in tatters, even though he had not been arrested, because “mud sticks”.
Then she found Bond and his wife packing before storming out, Brotherston said.
Frightened that if he skipped the country she would be implicated in some way, she turned to the UK for help, telephoning an old contact at Cannock Police, who advised her to call the police.
Brotherston told Press Gazette: “I was in shock. It was not something I would normally do. But I needed to talk to someone.”
Bond did call her, telling her he was “oceans away” and promising to pay her $7,500 (£4,800) severance money, Brotherston claimed. He said she could live in the apartment until the end of February.
Because the rent had not been paid, Brotherston got notice to quit from the landlords, but stayed while she tried to earn money by child-minding, freelancing, even selling the bed she slept in.
When her severance money failed to appear, although she had offers of freelance work in the US, she decided to come home.
Now freelancing and working in PR, Brotherston said she intended to stay in the UK. She has heard nothing more from Bond. “I am extremely poor. He promised me three months salary and he hasn’t paid it.
“I was quite impressed with myself. I did not know how well I could cope with things. I thought I would be hysterical and crying but I never once did. I was there for eight weeks and I never saw anything of America. I was gutted really.”
By Jean Morgan