Giving evidence in her defence yesterday, Joanne Marie Jones (49) told the court that she ‘always had more than one job’ and, in addition to co-owning a successful deck-chair rental concession in St Brelade’s Bay, she also acted as a middleman between local fishermen and restaurants, worked as a builder and occasional bartender, delivered papers and bought and sold antiques and bric-à-brac at auctions, car boot sales and Facebook selling pages. All of these side jobs were paid ‘cash in hand’ she said, which she would live off while saving her formal wages from working at various car dealerships in her early years.
Ms Jones told the court she left school at 14 but had already been working before that, dealing antiques with her grandmother.
‘Even from 12, I was very much interested in making money,’ she said. ‘I did not spend really, I was more about saving.’
Nor did she spend money on clothes or hair and make-up, she told the court. ‘I have always been a bit of a tomboy.’
When she arrived in Jersey, she quickly made many friends with builders, fishermen and her eventual business partner in SunnySide Chairs, she said.
‘I am so good at selling things, I worked out soon I could sell lobster, crabs, sea bass,’ she said. ‘Even when doing the deck-chairs, I would still get orders.’
In addition, she told the court, she would trade in ‘anything that would fit in her truck’ – a Mitsubishi Warrior – including granite, tiles, bricks and logs.
While working her many side jobs, Ms Jones claimed she lived very simply and cheaply, often sharing single-room accommodation with a partner and driving a company car from the rental companies she worked for.
The court heard earlier this week that her assets – which included £80,000 found bundled in her attic at the time of her arrest, had climbed to nearly £1 million, not including her property interests.
The mother-of-one also claimed that her grandfather worked overseas much of the time and would return and give her and her grandmother gold jewellery and he often also bought gold ‘biscuits’, which she said he ‘used as his savings’ – all of which would eventually fall to her.
Advocate Michael Haines, defending, opened his case yesterday on the fourth day of the trial before Commissioner Julian Clyde-Smith. The trial continues.