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STING, TRUDIE … AND THE CHEF

The chef sacked by Sting and his wife after she became pregnant, wept as she told a tribunal she feared she might miscarry. Jane Martin, 42, said she had previously suffered a miscarriage yet Sting’s wife, the actress Trudie Styler, made no allowance for this when she fell pregnant a second time. Mrs Martin told the hearing that despite falling ill she tried to soldier on, but found herself doubled-up in pain with “potentially disastrous consequences”. Mrs Martin, of Winchester, who has already won her case for unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination, said that years of “bending over backwards to accommodate the family” counted for nothing.
The hearing was to decide on compensation. She said: “I had witnessed intimate events and behaviour, yet never betrayed those confidences. “When the moment came and I was made redundant – it destroyed my world.” Mrs Martin said: “The first real difficulties arose when I became ill and could not stand for prolonged periods through the day.” “Despite a doctor’s note Trudie was not willing to accommodate my physical difficulties.
The tribunal panel had earlier accused Ms Styler of “shameful conduct” and resorting to “subterfuge”. The tribunal found that Mrs Martin had been unfairly dismissed and was a victim of sexual discrimination. Yesterday’s hearing heard that after she was signed off work with gastro-enteritis while pregnant she was unable to travel 290 miles to cook at a Lake District property in Grasmere owned by Sting, real name Gordon Sumner. She was required to work at Sting’s 800-acre Lake House estate near Salisbury, where it was claimed “opulent extravagance reigned”.
The hearing was told that where food and entertaining was concerned there was “no regard to expense, cost or wastage”. On one occasion Mrs Martin who earned £28,000 a year, restricted caviar at a party to £3,000 but was told by Ms Styler to serve the whole £6,000 stock, much of which was then wasted.
Mrs Martin also said that when seven months pregnant she was required to make a train and taxi journey costing £148 to the couple’s Westminster home to prepare soup and salad for Ms Styler, for which she was paid £300 overtime.
When Mrs Martin tried to return from maternity leave in 2006 she was told the Sumner household were cutting back at Lake House because the family were spending more time in London. Lake House Estate, the company owned by Sting and his wife and which employed Miss Martin, then made her and another chef the subject of a points scoring system to decide which should be made redundant.
Under cross-examination Mrs Martin admitted that Ms Styler had never been directly unpleasant to her. Lake House Estate’s barrister Peter Kirby told the hearing that Ms Styler had no intention of victimising Mrs Martin once she became pregnant and did not do so. He added: “As far as other mothers were concerned, their needs were accommodated.” The tribunal adjourned to consider the amount of compensation Mrs Martin is due and will give its ruling in a written decision. A spokesman for Trudie Styler said after the hearing: “We will be appealing the tribunal’s original decision.” “The appeal has been lodged on the grounds that the decision was wrong in law and fundamentally biased against Trudie. “It is deeply regrettable and, in our view, entirely inappropriate that today’s hearing went ahead.”
Earlier on, Trudie Styler has hit out at the tribunal judgment which she believes portrayed her as ‘a monstrous tyrant’. Trudie has blasted the damning judgment calling it a “deeply personal attack” on her character. The 52-year-old actress told the Mail On Sunday newspaper: “It was as if the chairman of the tribunal viewed me as Marie Antoinette, reclining on my chaise longue, issuing forth imperious commands from my boudoir.”

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