Celebrity photographer reveals how he 'nearly threw himself under a train' after PA stole £565k from him

Celebrity photographer David Hogan has revealed how he considered throwing himself under a tube train after his personal assistant conned him out of his fortune.

Caron Westbrook and her husband Martin were last week jailed for five-and-a-half years and three years respectively after swindling £565,000 from the snapper, known as Hogie.

The 56-year-old snapper from Powys, who made his name photographing celebs from the Rolling Stones to Tom Cruise and Michael Jackson, was left in financial ruin by the couple.

Caron Westbrook at Isleworth Crown Court in west London
(Photo: PA)
Martin and Caron Westbrook arrive at Isleworth Crown Court
(Photo: PA)

He had to sell three homes, can no longer get a mortgage because of poor credit ratings and lives in rented accommodation, Wales Online reports.

The dad-of-two said: “There were several times I nearly took my life.”

“My family stopped me doing that because they said, ‘We love you whether you’re rich or poor, if anything was to happen it would ruin our lives.’

“There were times when I would look into a tube driver’s eyes and think, ‘Am I going to f*** your day up?’

Debt collectors would turn up at his home, he said.

“I was like, ‘you can’t do this, you have to stop turning up and harassing me,’” David said.

Dave’s photo of Tom Cruise on the red carpet for Jack Reacher: Never Go Back in London
(Photo: Getty Images Europe)

“It was stressing me out being told I owed money.

“You’re like, ‘I have nothing to sell’ because it had all been stolen.”

David hoped his tormentor has “a tough time in prison.”

Hogan’s photo of Leonardo DiCaprio at the EE British Academy Film Awards at The Royal Opera House on February 14, 2016
(Photo: Getty Images Europe)

“If she does it again they can just throw away the key,” he said.

“I don’t think I would forgive them if I met them in the street.”

After he confronted Westbrook, he received texts from her husband Martin Westbrook saying she had attempted to kill herself.

Dave’s snap of Mick Jagger during The Rolling Stones concert Cuba last March
(Photo: Getty Images Europe)

“I had one saying, ‘I’ve found her on the floor trying to commit suicide.’ “I was panicking thinking I had killed her.

“That is just evil. I could have had a heart attack.

“Then I had begging letters and texts saying they would pay it all back.”

Dave’s photo of Little Mix perform on stage at The BRIT Awards 2017
(Photo: Getty Images Europe)

He thought his nightmare was never going to end.

“The justice system stuck by me and I am so grateful for that,” David said.

“I can’t fault the CPS or my barrister, they did a blinding job and gave me utter confidence in the legal system.

Hogan’s photo Britney Spears during the Apple Music Festival at The Roundhouse, London, last September
(Photo: Getty Images Europe)

“Bad guys will not get through they will eventually get caught.”

It emerged Westbrook, 53, had 44 convictions stretching back decades.

They include theft from employers and fraud.

She was jailed at Isleworth Crown Court by Judge John Denniss after admitting theft and transferring criminal property this week.

Dave Hogan and Anthea Turner
(Photo: Rex Features)

“I’ve borrowed money from my brother in law, my son and my late father, who went to his grave in 2016 with me owing him money,” dad-of-three David said.

“She did something so despicable – I used to give my father £25 a week extra to help him out because he was on a pension.

“She cancelled the standing order and took the money.

“And when I got married I took out a life insurance policy with my then wife Caroline, so that if either of us died we would get £100,000.

“She cancelled that payment and stole it.”

Dave Hogan
(Photo: Rex Features)

Westbrook invented a fictitious friend named Steve.

“He had a wife and eight-year-old twins,” David said.

“I got them tickets to the Disney Frozen premiere because I was crying after she came up with this line that this guy’s wife had just died from cancer leaving these twins.

“I was buying tickets for this bereaved father who did not exist.”

David Hogan and his wife Janice (centre right) with friends and family outside Isleworth Crown Court
(Photo: PA)

In turn she stole money destined for real cancer victims.

“She stole from charity,” David, who was brought up in Newtown, Powys, said.

“One of my friends died from cancer and we had a whip-round with all my photographer colleagues.

“We got about £600 and put it into a bank account and she stole that too.”

Westbrook, of Lime Grove, Barnet, north London, presented herself as the perfect employee with impeccable references to David – all fake.

“There is no remorse from her,” David said.

“Every time I came close to thinking there was something not quite right she would use cancer as an excuse – my dad is dying of cancer, the dog is dying of cancer, the cat is dying of cancer.”

Westbrook was said to have three aliases and picked up convictions including theft by employee in 1993 and benefit fraud in 2003.

Celebrity Photographer Dave Hogan poses at his the launch of his book Access All Areas in 2008
(Photo: Publicity)

She worked for David from 2003 to 2014.

“I’m relieved it’s all over and amazed she could get up and look herself in the mirror,” he said.

“The judge said she was a parasite who just lived off me.”

Once he visited Westbook at her home and while there she took delivery of “£50 or £60” of fresh flowers for David.

She’d bought them with money stolen from him.

“It took so long to get all the cheques and statements together,” David said.

“I don’t want to name and shame any banks. Some have been so good, but others have been incompetent.”

Now he needs to fix his credit history.

“I had never been turned down for anything, I was a successful businessman,” he said.

“I couldn’t get a £20 loan now. That is what I want the banks to put right. I am a genuine victim of fraud and the banks need to clear my name.”

After Westbrook and her husband were locked up David “slept the best I had in a long time.”

David Hogan outside Isleworth Crown Court
(Photo: PA)

“I’m not going to be a victim anymore,” he said.

“I’ve been a victim. But that will not define me.”

Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org.

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