Gambling addict Jeffrey Hamblion stole thousands from best friend to fund habit
A property developer whose best friend stole thousands of pounds from him to fund his gambling habit has spoken of his anger at the betrayal.
Colin Thompson, 39, from South Croydon, trusted best friend Jeffrey Hamblion like a member of the family until he discovered the 42-year-old had been pocketing cash owed to him and squandering it in casinos and bookmakers.
Mr Thompson, of Dornton Road, said he would not forgive his former pal, who he had supported through the recession and whose wedding he served at as an usher.
He had employed Mr Hamblion, of Colchester, as a maintenance man for his properties in south London.
But in October 2011 he grew suspicious after spotting inconsistencies in his business accounts.
He consulted Mr Hamblion, who broke down and confessed he had been keeping tenants' rent and deposit payments to fund his spiralling gambling problem.
Mr Thompson said: "He was like a member of a family and he abused his position of trust. I don't think it gets much lower than that.
"I supported him throughout the recession for five years when economically there was no role there for him. And that was because he was a friend. You trust friends.
"But to do that to me and my family is just unforgiveable. Some of the money he took was off old-age pensioners."
He added: "If he had just sent a note to apologise then maybe one day I could have forgiven him but the fact that he has shown no remorse means there is no way back for us."
Mr Hamblion was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, after admitting stealing £3,500 at Croydon Magistrates Court in May last year.
Mr Thompson has been battling for justice ever since after being awarded just £260 compensation.
A court in Colchester this week ordered Mr Hamblion to repay a further £6,200 - but Mr Thompson says he lost tens of thousands of pounds more.
He said: "I will pursue every single angle possible until every aspect of what he has stolen from me has been pursued. It is a matter of principle."
"I think his punishment was light. In my mind he should be in prison - there's no two ways about that."