Hodgkins’s past haunts him in UK

2011-08-01 00:00

AS Chris Hodgkins, former concert impresario in Pietermaritzburg, establishes himself in business in the United Kingdom, it appears that his past has come back to haunt him.

When The Witness last spoke to Hodgkins in March last year, he declined to reveal his whereabouts, but The Witness can now reveal that he lives in Surrey and works in Ports­mouth, England, at a cash and carry retailer called Booker.

Sources in the UK called The Witness recently after having Googled Hodgkins’s name and found articles written about him on our website, implicating him in alleged irregularities about monies that were unaccounted for from HMW Events two years ago, leaving his business partners fuming.

They wanted to know if the reports were true. The Witness learned that Hodgkins had allegedly become romantically involved with a woman considered to be a major client at Booker, and there was even talk of wedding bells.

However, the wedding was subsequently called off, said sources, and it was alleged that it was because the bride to be discovered that Hodgkins had been involved in some controversy in South Africa.

However, this could not be confirmed as the woman declined to speak to The Witness when approached for comment. She also asked that her name not be revealed.

An irate Hodgkins on Thursday called The Witness, threatening legal action. He felt there was no need for an update on his whereabouts, he said, but then voluntarily gave his address as Furze Hills, Simmondstone Lane, Churt, Farnham, Surrey, GU 10 2HT.

He said that he had given his side of the story. “If you feel that I am a celebrity, I will write a weekly column for you,” he fumed.

He also alleged that a person whose romantic advances he had spurned here was behind a campaign to victimise him.

Among the contentious issues that UK sources raised were the fact that Hodgkins said he left South Africa purely because he had been the victim of violent crime.

Asked about this, Hodgkins told The Witness he was held up outside Parklane Spar when he worked there and was also hijacked in Johannesburg.

He did not report the Pietermaritzburg incident to police, but did report the Johannesburg hijacking.

Crime had escalated, and I had got divorced. It was the end of an era.”

He said the matter of money allegedly missing from the HMW Events account was between Mike Woollam and himself.

He said, “Why do you want to be the judge and jury? Mike Woollam needs to contact me. I stand by my story.

“Claims that money was taken out the country are untrue. Claims that I took R260 000 are absurd.

“No money was taken. Every penny was accounted for. I have no need to answer for what I have done. Mike Woollam has had two years. He knows the situation.”

Claims were also made that Hodgkins said he had played for the Sharks.

One source said he contacted the Sharks to confirm this, and they said he had not. When asked about the claim, Hodgkins said he had been registered with the Natal Rugby Union for under 21s while at university.

Reacting to claims locally, that people said he had bragged that he played soccer for Liverpool, he said he had never played for them.

Speaking to The Witness last week, Woollam said he has “never received a cent of the money” he was owed by Hodgkins.

He said recently he had two approaches from people about Hodgkins, but ignored both of them.

oollam said that if Hodgkins ever returns to South Africa he will press charges against him, “as sure as the sun rises”.

“I have 30 years to do so.”

Woollam said Hodgkins’s reason for leaving the country, because he had been the victim of crime was “total rubbish”.

A source in England said that Hodgkins was refuting all allegations against him, saying he has an agreement in place with Woollam and said he has paperwork that exonerates him.

He also said that there is a witch hunt against him and that everyone in South Africa is picking on him.

Answers: Hodgkins responds to questions about his past activities

FOLLOWING the conversation with The Witness, Hodgkins wrote to the editor saying as there had been interest in his whereabouts he would also publish his email address, which is chrishodgkins1@hotmail.com

“Other questions seem to have been raised and here are the answers.

Did I work for the SAB Group? YES, as Marketing Director Scotts Retail (Pty) Ltd and as Merchandise & Marketing Director Selecta-a-Shoe (Pty) Ltd. Both companies being part of Amrel Ltd. A wholly owned subsidiary of SAB.

Did I play for Liverpool? No.

Did I play for the Sharks? No, I played University under 21 and was registered with the NRU.

Was I part of the SADF? No.

Was crime one of my reasons for leaving? It was a contributing factor having been hi-jacked at gun point in Johannesberg and, then having experienced an attempted armed hold-up in Pietermaritzburg.”

“I did not leave the country with any monies from the Concert in the Park 2009. All of the income and expenditure figures were provided to Mike Woollam.” — newsed@witness.co.za.

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