Fiona's Ostrich Fiasco; Newsreader Fronted Film for Get-Rich-Quick 'Racket'

Daily Mail (London), March 23, 2000 | Go to article overview

Fiona's Ostrich Fiasco; Newsreader Fronted Film for Get-Rich-Quick 'Racket'


FORMER ITN newsreader Fiona Armstrong appeared in a promotional video for an ostrich-breeding business which conned investors out of millions, a court heard yesterday.

The scheme promised profits of up to 2,000 per cent over ten years for buying a breeding bird for as little as [pounds sterling]1,400.

Miss Armstrong was so impressed with the venture that she spent thousands of her own money buying two birds.

The presenter, who has also worked for GMTV, is due to give evidence later in the trial of four men accused of running a complex racket which defrauded more than 2,000 people.

On the second day of the trial at Leicester Crown Court the jury were told that 43-year-old Miss Armstrong was among the lucky few who saw a return on their investment. Julian Baughan, QC, prosecuting, said Miss Armstrong agreed to front a video made in 1995 which described ostriches, which produce low-fat meat, as 'the cash crop of the 90s'.

Mr Baughan said: 'You will hear from Miss Armstrong. She will tell you that she was sufficiently persuaded by the scheme that she bought a bird for [pounds sterling]10,000.

That produced 15 chicks in a year and she acquired a second bird.' The company at the centre of the allegations, the Ostrich Farming Corporation, was set up above a video shop in New Ollerton, Nottinghamshire, in 1994. …

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