BETTING TRIAL: Policeman 'offered Jockey Club job'

THE lawyer defending South Yorkshire businessman Miles Rodgers in a £2 million betting scam trial has questioned the impartiality of the detective who led the investigation.

Peter Kelson QC said acting Det Insp Mark Manning, who was due to retire, had been offered a job with the Jockey Club.

He said the jury should have "deep anxiety" about his impartiality.

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Mr Kelson, defending betting syndicate boss 38-year-old Rodgers, from Silkstone Common, said his client was simply a prolific gambler who obtained tips from jockeys and others in the racing industry and placed wages on Betfair.

He told the Old Bailey that, despite the prosecution's claims it was a "sophisticated and cunning conspiracy", the alleged conspirators - who include six-times national jockey Kieren Fallon - had actually made a loss of 278,067 on the 27 races in question.

He also said Rodgers had placed bets on a number of other sports, including boxing, cricket, football and tennis, as well as on events such as Pop Idol and Big Brother.

There was laughter around the court when Mr Kelson said of the 6 Rodgers wagered on the Eurovision Song Contest: "He kept a grip of himself on that one."

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The suggestion that top jockey Kieren Fallon was deliberately trying to lose races was "simply ridiculous", his barrister John Kelsley-Fry QC said.

Mr Kelsey-Fry said Fallon had, in fact, won more races - an average 29.4 per cent - during the time of the alleged conspiracy, than the 19 per cent he normally averaged.

Mr Kelsey-Fry said this meant Fallon's winning rides were 150 times higher "when he was trying to lose than when he was trying to win".

Fallon, Rodgers and four other men deny conspiring to make 27 horses lose, and defrauding the online betting exchange Betfair and other punters between December 2002 and September 2004.

Rodgers also denies concealing the proceeds of crime.

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The accused are jockeys Fallon, aged 42, of Tipperary, Ireland; Fergal Lynch, aged 29, of Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire; and Darren Williams, aged 29, of Leyburn, North Yorkshire plus Lynch's brother, Shaun Lynch, aged 37, of Belfast; former racing syndicate director Miles Rodgers and 42-year-old Philip Sherkle, of Tamworth, Staffordshire.

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