High Court claim by former Roadchef staff

Tim Ingram Hill

Tim Ingram Hill

First published in News

Wealthy retired Roadchef motorway services owner Tim Ingram Hill, who lives in Pewsey, is at the centre of a High Court row over shares received by some of his former employees.

Mr Ingram Hill lives at Southcott House, Southcott, with his wife Sarah who sits as a magistrate at Salisbury courts. Previously they lived in Alton Priors for some years.

They are both listed as directors of Ingram Holdings, the parent company of the Ingram Hotels chain.

Mr Ingram Hill, who is frequently seen around the Marlborough area in a Rolls-Royce coupe, built up the Roadchef empire with a total of 20 motorway service stations before he sold out in 1998 to the Japanese bank Nikko.

Former employees are alleging he fraudulently transferred their shares into his own name before selling the company for £139 million.

At the time of the sale of Roadchef it was reported that Mr Ingram Hill personally made £75m.

Former employees led by the former company secretary Tim Warwick allege that £56m due to them after the sale of the company had been transferred from their employee share ownership plan into a second trust for senior staff.

The second trust was controlled by Mr Ingram Hill, who has appeared regularly in the Sunday Times Rich List of the 1,000 richest people in Britain.

In 2009 he shared 863rd place – with an estimated personal fortune of £70m – with others including Silence of the Lambs actor Sir Anthony Hopkins and former MP and novelist Lord Archer.

When Roadchef sold out to Nikko in 1998, staff reportedly expected to receive £90,000 each for their shares in the business but, instead, most received payouts of as little as £2,300 with longer-serving members getting slightly higher sums.

A formal writ and details of the claim were filed at the High Court in March but have only just been made public because of a separate action over legal costs with Mr Ingram Hill reportedly having agreed to underwrite up to £250,000 to secure an out of court settlement.

Court papers say: “As a result of the fraud, the [trust] was left with no assets or funds [to pay its lawyers].”

The main action brought by the former employees is expected to come to the High Court in 2012. Both sides declined to comment pending the hearing.

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