water polo blog Elizabeth Cottle had luxury lifestyle paid for
The 25 year old was cross examined at Worcester Crown Court on Friday by prosecutor, John Butterfield QC, who argued that her lavish lifestyle was funded by the proceeds of dealing cocaine.
Cottle stands trial alongside eight co defendants, including partner Ashley James, telling the jury she worked hard for her money.
The court heard how she went on holidays to New York, Barbados, Los Angeles and Las Vegas and stayed in ‘luxury’ hotels in London. She owned a Burberry coat, bought by James as a gift from Selfridges for 1,090.
A 2,875 quartz kitchen worktop was installed at the home she shared with James at Cherington Close, Worcester. The holiday in Los Angeles and Las Vegas cost 5,145 and the holiday in Barbados cost 6,374, 6,000 of which was paid in cash on the day the holiday was booked. The New York holiday cost 2,735 and again James paid for the holiday in cash.
The court heard that Cottle, who worked at Worcester Bosch for minimum wage and at nightclub Bushwackers, earned 16,635 a year and James, a plumber and doorman, earned 26,000, giving them a combined income of 42,635.
Mr Butterfield said despite this income the couple spent 25,169 in 2014 alone on ‘luxuries’ (59 per cent of their global income), excluding expenses like mortgage payments, utility bills and council tax.
She admitted staying at the London Marble Arch Hotel and the Shangri La Hotel at the Shard in 2014. Mr Butterfield said: “It’s not the Travelodge is it?”
He added: “You were burning through money you didn’t have in any legitimate way. These are eye watering sums. You were living it large in every sphere.
“You cannot be so deluded as to believe a plumber could afford all this, even one that earns a little bit more as a bouncer?”
However, Cottle said she had worked hard for her money, performing more than one job, ‘saving hard’, making sacrifices, not drinking, not smoking and not going out. She also said a 400 per head meal she had at the Shangri La also included brunch the next day and said the trip had been ‘once in a lifetime’.