THE owners of a small company who fell victim to a trusted manager who betrayed them to steal thousands of pounds told of their devastation.

They spoke out about the “greed” of Brian Blake, 65, of Amelia Close, Newport, who is facing jail for fleecing them.

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Rycon Steels Ltd director Helena Djordjevitch said her life has been “hell” since their former general manager conned the firm in 2018.

The defendant pocketed £8,600 from the Cardiff-based steel stockholder and supplier over a five-month after working there as a valued employee for 15 years.


Blake pleaded guilty to one count of theft at a Cardiff Crown Court hearing.

After the hearing, Mrs Djordjevitch said: “My husband Andrej, who is partner/owner of Rycon Steels, made him the general manager after taking him on in 2004.

South Wales Argus:

Brian Blake. Picture: Facebook

“He trusted him implicitly and gave him all operational control of the business and he completely betrayed us.

“Our lives have been hell. I have had sleepless nights worrying about how the business will survive. The effect on my life has been devastating.

“I have had to give up my ambition to run a vegan kitchen in my retirement years.”

She said that for a small company, the loss of more than £8,000 has had a profound impact on the firm.

South Wales Argus:

Victims Andrej and Helena Djordjevitch

Mrs Djordjevitch added: “After this happened, I have hardly seen my home, I’ve had no holidays, no time for my grandchildren or children or the chance to see my friends.

“Andrej and his partner both bought the business in 1995 when the owner who they worked for retired.

“They took on a business loan and worked long, long hours for a better future for their families and later for their retirement. Brian has destroyed part of what they built.

“This man’s greed has damaged many people’s lives and Andrej and I at an advanced age suffer daily under the physical and mental strain of trying to rebuild the business.”

At the court hearing, Derrick Gooden, representing Blake, asked for sentence to be adjourned so that a Probation Service report could be prepared to look at “alternatives to custody”.

This was granted but Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke warned the defendant that an immediate prison sentence was still possible.

Blake was granted conditional bail and was told to return to Cardiff Crown Court on October 28 for sentence.