Husband of touting firm boss believed there was ‘nothing untoward’ about company

The husband of a “dishonest” touting firm boss has told a court he believed there was “nothing untoward” about her business.

Mark Woods is accused of being involved in his wife Maria Chenery-Woods’ company TQ Tickets Ltd, which sold more than £6.5 million of tickets on secondary ticketing sites in two and a half years.

Leeds Crown Court heard the firm used multiple identities, some of which were fake, to buy large amounts of tickets for artists such as Ed Sheeran and Little Mix on primary sites including Ticketmaster before re-selling them on secondary ticketing platforms such as Viagogo.

She and Paul Douglas, who referred to himself as Ticket Boy, have pleaded guilty to fraudulent trading but their respective spouses – Mark Woods and Lynda Chenery – have denied the offences and are on trial. Chenery is also Chenery-Woods’ sister.

Woods told the court that he became a director of TQ Tickets Ltd when his wife had filed for bankruptcy and couldn’t take a directorship herself, but that he had no personal involvement in its administration.

Giving evidence on Monday, Woods said he and Chenery-Woods married in 1998 after meeting when she was working for the travel company he used in order to commute from East Anglia to London.

He told the court she left the family business after the birth of their first child and set up her own firm taking people around the country on coaches for events.

Woods said he “didn’t take a great deal of interest” in her business and was “extremely busy” with his own career in sales.

“I was perfectly satisfied that there was nothing untoward about what she was doing.

“I was very content, I was very busy doing my own thing. In certain respects we led very different paths.”

Woods said he became a director of TQ Tickets Ltd when it was set up as a limited company because Chenery-Woods was bankrupt at the time following a previous business “debacle” and unable to take a directorship.

He told the court he had “decided to give Maria one last chance” but did not anticipate having any role in the business himself.

Asked if he received any remuneration as a director, Woods said: “Not a penny, nothing.”

He said he “should have resigned” from the company when his wife was discharged from bankruptcy a few years later and took all the firm’s shares.

Woods said TQ Tickets Ltd was an “obsession” for his wife, telling jurors: “She became completely obsessed. It took priority over me, the family, and it caused conflict.”

The defendant told the court his arrest in 2017 was an “absolute bolt out of the blue”.

Woods said he believed TQ Tickets Ltd was “a broker that provided tickets and travel for consumers wanting to go to events”.

Woods said Chenery-Woods had used his bank cards for the business, and thought they were being used to “pay invoices”.

He said: “I didn’t get the statements, I didn’t know what was going on with her business. I knew my cards were being used but I didn’t get any summary or update.”

Prosecutors have said that TQ Tickets Ltd was motivated by “greed and dishonesty” when it “exploited the love and passion” of music lovers to make more than £6.5 million from secondary ticketing sites in two and a half years.

Woods, 59, and Chenery, 51, both of Dickleburgh, near Diss, Norfolk, deny three counts of fraudulent trading.

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