DISGRACED former Rangers owner Craig Whyte has claimed a housekeeper – accused of stealing from his Highland castle – threatened to poison him.
The tycoon said he discovered an email with the threat while searching the staff quarters of Jane Hagen and Terence Horan, the caretakers on trial for theft from Castle Grant in Grantown on Spey.
He also claimed Miss Hagen had made a menacing remark aimed at harming his young daughter by cleaning a toilet with her toothbrush.
The astonishing allegations were made by Whyte during the second day of a trial at Inverness Sheriff Court against Hagen and Horan, accused of stealing from the castle in Moray between June and September last year.
The millionaire faced cross-examination from the former housekeepers’ lawyers and denied he had asked them to store his valuables while being chased by sheriff officers for alleged debts.
He stated from the witness stand: “That is an absolute lie.”
Whyte also denied tampering with a letter on a computer in the couple’s quarters which was allegedly written by Hagen and “confessed” of a plan to remove “high value” property before the bailiffs moved in.
He told the court that, after getting locksmiths to break into the staff accommodation to check out his suspicions about property being stolen, his then girlfriend discovered the letter which was highly critical of Whyte at a time Rangers was being put into administration.
The letter, allegedly written by Hagen and was also copied on the computer in the staff quarters, stated: “We are going to remove some high-value things as it look as if the bailiffs will take the rest and we want to make sure that we don’t lose out.”
During his evidence, Whyte described how he discovered a vast array of property missing from his home on returning from a holiday with his children.
These, he said, included 40th birthday gifts and expensive watches, including a Cartier valued at around £1,000.
The letter, which makes reference to Hagen’s partner Horan as ‘T’ and their pet dog Enzo, described Whyte as as bad man who treated his family badly.
The letter said: “Our boss has been behaving rather badly. We have always known he is not the nicest person in business and his living is mostly made by dubious means.
“Before we went to the States in March I had started to become friends with his ex-wife. Talking to her not only confirms our suspicions that he is not a good man but we found he has treated her and her family and his family in the most appalling way.
“He has bankrupted his own father and due to this he has lost his home not once but three times and he still uses him to do his dirty work.”
The letter also allegedly stated that Whyte’s ex-wife, Kim, had claimed he had planned “doing a runner and never returning to the castle”.
The letter continued: “It was rather distressing news for us. Not only do we both lose out jobs but also lose our home and will have to move from a place that we absolutely love.
“In the past few months he has been served with loads of court papers and the wolves are howling at his door. He is in all sorts of trouble with the law over his ownership of Rangers Football Club, with some pretty serious threats of going to prison over his illegal activities.”
Hagen’s lawyer Willie Young said to Whyte that his client and her partner were being besieged at the time by sheriff officers, suppliers who had allegedly not been paid, and banks chasing after their boss.
They also had to do anti-terrorist training with police after threats were made against their employer, the court heard.
Whyte said that, in addition to the letter, he found emails on the computer making “threats against my daughter and another where she [Hagen] threatened to poison me”.
He added: “She said she was cleaning my daughter’s toilet with her toothbrush.”
Mr Young said there was no mention of these threats in his police statements, and Whyte replied: “The police were more interested in the theft.”
He claimed that officers had told him that Hagen and Horan had “done it before”.
He added that the couple were intent on stealing from him, adding that he was still missing a number of items, including diamond-encrusted cufflinks and gold coins.
His estranged wife Kim also gave evidence and claimed Horan and Hagen had told her they intended to “take stuff” from the castle in lieu of unpaid wages.
Asked if she remained loyal to her husband, she replied: “Not a lot. That would be a no.”
Both Horan, 53, and Hagan, 50, now of Bicester, Oxfordshire, deny theft. The list of items allegedly stolen include a quad bike, coins, a hip flask, cufflinks, a telescope, a photo album, two jumpers and a bin.