TV Apprentice winner's tribunal

A winner of TV show The Apprentice, from Kent, described the £100,000-a-year job she was given by Lord Sugar as that of an "overpaid lackey", an employment tribunal has heard.

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Lord Sugar tried to stop Apprentice winner quitting

Lord Sugar and Stella English, the winner of The Apprentice 2010. Credit: PA

During cross-examination today 2010 Apprentice winner Stella English was asked by Seamus Sweeney, representing Lord Sugar, why she did not complain to the millionaire business mogul about how she was treated.

She said: "I was in a trial period to win The Apprentice.

"What value is there in me going into a company I don't know - whether I knew (she was going to win) or not - and then go and complain about people who have been working there a long time?"

The tribunal also heard that Ms English later asked Lord Sugar about how to get media advice on doing some public speaking or writing a book as she needed to make some money as she was in debt.

Ms English, who took home £82,500 a year in her previous job working for a Japanese investment bank, said Lord Sugar told her it would be "better all round that you didn't walk out".

Sugar condemns Apprentice winner

Lord Sugar Credit: PA

Winner of TV show The Apprentice Stella English was an "untrusting and suspicious person" who was full of "conspiracy theories", Lord Sugar told an employment tribunal today.

Ms English, 34, who won Series 6 of the BBC show in 2010, is suing the millionaire business mogul, claiming constructive dismissal.

Reading out his own statement at the East London Employment Tribunal Service hearing today, Lord Sugar said he was surprised when she told him she was not enjoying the £100,000 role with him that she had won.

"I began to think that perhaps the reality of work rather than the glamour of showbusiness was beginning to bite with her," he said.

"Her time in the limelight was beginning to fade."

Lord Sugar went on: "In hindsight, I can now see that she was a very untrusting and suspicious person.

"It was clear to me now that she thought that everyone was out to trick her.

"She thought during the whole process that she was being lied to and that the other candidate has been chosen as the winner."

Lord Sugar said Ms English confronted him with the idea that semi-finalist Chris Bates had won the competition because she had not filmed a segment of the show showing her leaving his office in a chauffeur-driven car.

Lord Sugar added: "She always came across as quite reserved and detached and, some might argue, cold.

"At other times she would come to me with some very odd conspiracy theories."

He said she believed the PR agency he himself used had leaked information about her family to the press.

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Apprentice contestant considered quitting show

Stella English outside a constructive dismissal hearing she brought against Lord Sugar at an East London Employment Tribunal Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

The winner of TV show The Apprentice said today she had thought of leaving the show starring Lord Sugar but felt she had invested too much time in it to drop out. Stella English, 34, also gave up a high flying career in the City when she was named as a semi-finalist on the show.

Ms English, from Whitstable in Kent, is suing Lord Sugar for constructive dismissal, had to carry out a four-month probationary period before she was eventually named the winner in December 2010.

Kent winner of The Apprentice takes Lord Sugar to court

Lord Sugar and Stella English, from Whitstable, in happier times Credit: Ian West/PA Wire

Stella English, 34, from Whitstable in Kent, who won Series 6 of the BBC1 show in 2010, is suing the millionaire business mogul, claiming constructive dismissal. Ms English said she could not believe Lord Sugar was not taking her life and future seriously.

During cross-examination at the East London Employment Tribunal Service, Ms English said Lord Sugar told her during an unscheduled meeting on September 28 2011 that he would not be keeping her on.

The tribunal previously heard that Ms English worked for Lord Sugar's Viglen division for a four-month probationary period between September and December 2010 before being crowned the winner of the competition that month.

Apprentice winner's employment tribunal

Ms English said the job "became increasingly untenable to continue. As time progressed I continued to be marginalised.

She said she phoned Lord Sugar in May 2011 and asked if she could meet him but claims "he made it abundantly clear that he didn't want to see me."

She said she told Lord Sugar: "I have tried so hard for so long and it's not working. I'm an overpaid lackey at Viglen. My pride would not allow me to continue doing it."

Ms English said Lord Sugar then offered her a role in another company which she started in June 2011.

She said Lord Sugar told her that he had given her the second role because he did not want to damage the integrity of The Apprentice or the BBC, or to arm his own public image.

The tribunal continues.

Apprentice winner "not taken seriously"

Stella English and Lord Sugar
Stella English and Lord Sugar in happier times Credit: PA

Ms English, of Whitstable, said she was not taken seriously by her colleagues, while she did not feel like Lord Sugar's "apprentice" as she said she only saw him five times during her 13-month employment.

She said: "I was provided with a desk and a phone but that was pretty much it."

Ms English fought back tears as she said she was given no guidance about what she was meant to be doing, and was "ostracised" by her colleagues who told her she had taken over another women's job.

Relegated to carrying out basic administrative tasks, Ms English said her employment was a "sham".

She added: "The career-enhancing opportunities that The Apprentice position had been sold as simply failed to materialise."

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