University credit card used to pay £2,000 for night at strip club

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A university credit card has been used to pay a £2,184 bill for a night out attended by staff at a strip club.

Northumbria University in Newcastle was called out in an investigation after splashing out at lap-dance club Spearmint Rhino.

Northumbria Students’ Union president Simon Noble slammed the university for ‘serious breach of ethical behaviour’ and has demanded an apology.


Mandatory Credit: Photo by Andy Paradise/REX/Shutterstock (453955b) 'Spearmint Rhino' on Tottenham Court Road, London, Britain - 28 APR 2004 VARIOUS
Staff at Northumbria University enjoyed a ‘corporate event’ at Spearmint Rhino strip club (Picture: Andy Paradise/REX/Shutterstock)

He told ChronicleLive: ‘Over the years Northumbria University has had some fantastic members of staff who have used their position to fight lad culture on campus, as well as fighting for gender equality in academia through their work with Athena Swan.

‘It is a shame that this behaviour undermines that work and as your President of the Students’ Union I have met with senior members of the University to put forward our concerns.

A mother has told of her terrifying ordeal of being locked up in a filthy Dubai jail for three days with her four-year-old daughter for drinking a glass of wine on a flight from London. Ellie Holman, 44, was arrested after being asked by an immigration official at Dubai International Airport if she had consumed alcohol on the eight-hour flight. The mother-of-three, a dentist, from Sevenoaks, Kent, says she was held in a ?baking hot and foul smelling? airport detention centre ? and not allowed to call her husband, Gary. Now Dr Holman faces spending up to a year in the strict Arab state for her case to be settled. Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, she said: ?My little girl had to go to the toilet on the cell floor. I have never heard her cry in the same way as she did in that cell. ?My passport remains confiscated until the case is settled, which I have been told will take at least a year,? she said. ?So far this situation has cost me around ?30,000 in legal fees, expenses and missed work. My practice is closed. All our savings have gone.? Her nightmare began after she stepped off an Emirates Airlines flight from London to Dubai on July 13th. During the flight she was served a glass of red wine with her meal. Alcohol is served as standard practice on Emirates Airlines on flights from the UK to Dubai. On arrival Dr Holman was quizzed by an immigration official over her visa who told her it was not valid. She said she had visited the UAE several times before and as the visa had not expired assumed it was still valid. The immigration officer told her the visa was valid for a single visit and said she had to buy a ticket and return to London immediately. Dr Holman says she pleaded with the ?dismissive and rude? official to allow her to apply for a new visa at the airport telling him her daughter was exhausted. ?The thought of buying another ticket and turning straight around for another long flight was unthinkable,? she said. During a tense standoff with the immigration officer, Dr Holman said he became angry with her and refused to answer her questions. She said he then asked her if she had been drinking. ?I told him I had a glass of wine on the flight. It was given to me free by Emirates Airlines staff.? The official told Dr Holman possession of alcohol ? even if consumed ? was a crime in the UAE. As the official became more agitated, Dr Holman started filming him on her mobile phone so that she had some evidence of his rude behaviour. Within seconds she was surrounded by a dozen armed police and told filming airport officials was a criminal offence. The terrified pair were led to a cell in the airport and had their phones and passports taken away. Dr Holman said her daughter Bibi was inconsolable and she tried to comfort her by reading her books in the jail. They were taken to a police station where she was told to provide a blood sample for an alcohol test, she said a guard took out her earrings and tried to rip off her hair extensions. As police detention staff spoke in Arabic, Dr Holman pleaded for some water and food. She claims they also asked to use a toilet but were denied permission. Dr Holman, a Swedish national, says she and Bibi were ordered to sleep in a canteen area used by other inmates.She claims the room?s lights were kept on and with no air conditioning she said it was ?baking hot and foul smelling.? She said the male guards offered no help as, exhausted and shocked by her experience, she struggled to lift the mattress. The guards stood by and laughed, she claimed. ?My daughter is a happy, smiley girl, but she was terrified,? she said. The terrified pair arrived at a police building where she says a man in a dirty white lab coat said he was going to take a sample of her blood as evidence she had drunk alcohol. She was told the results showed 0.04% of alcohol in her blood ? a reading far below the UK drink drive limit.During their detention the pair did not eat. ?The food smelled like rotting garbage and neither Bibi or I could face trying it. I stayed awake for the whole three days,? she said. She claims they were also denied a pillow or a change of clothing and Dr Holman was forced to clean toilets and mop the floor while her daughter stood by her side. She said Bibi was in a state of shock and refused to be comforted. Back at their home in Kent, partner Gary was frantic with worry, as he had not heard from the pair.Dr Holman said: ?Friends had found out I was in jail and tried to visit. Nobody was allowed to see us. We were not told.? Gary flew to Dubai leaving the couple?s other children Suri, nine and Noah, aged eight with relatives. Following her detention Dr Holman was taken in handcuffs back to airport and given bail. Bibi and her father have now been allowed to fly back to the UK while Dr Holman is staying with friends in Dubai. Gary said the experience of seeing his partner and daughter jailed was ?devastating for the whole family.? ?The thought of Ellie and our little girl in that awful prison breaks my heart. ?Ellie is a sensible, professional person and excellent mother who would never knowingly break the law. ?Why do Emirates Airlines serve alcohol for a passenger to drink and then pass through the airport. ?This has been devastating for the whole family. Ellie was taking a much needed break with little Bibi, who was looking forward to the beach and playing in the sea. ?I hope this can all be over so we can all be together again and start to heal.? Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained In Dubai, the British human rights NGO representing Ellie said in a statement: ?The UAE maintains a deliberately misleading fa?ade that alcohol consumption is perfectly legal for visitors. ?This is exampled by bars at the airport, by hotels, restaurants and clubs serving drinks. Tourists cannot be blamed for believing that the Emirates are tolerant of Western drinking habits but this is far from reality. ?It is wholly illegal for any tourist to have any level of alcohol in their blood. It is illegal to consume alcohol at a bar, a hotel and a restaurant and if breathalysed, that person will be jailed. David Haigh, a partner at Detained in Dubai added: ?It?s heartbreaking to see a mother and child arrested over something so trivial as a glass of wine.?British mother jailed with daughter for drinking glass of wine returns home

‘Every student should feel comfortable challenging misogyny on and off campus, and we expect our university to live up to the standards it has itself set out for its staff and students.’

Mr Nobel said he ‘accepts no money from student fees was misspent.’

Northumbria University said the strip club payment was ‘reimbursed promptly’.

A spokesperson said in a statement: ‘The payment made on a university credit card was reimbursed promptly and in full and that is the basis on which the transaction was authorised.


Mandatory Credit: Photo by Steve Black/REX/Shutterstock (4514952i) Northumbria University Newcastle Newcastle, Britain - Mar 2015
Northumbria University said the payment was ‘reimbursed promptly’ (Picture: Rex Features)

‘This payment was made at a reception following a corporate event at which Northumbria staff were invited guests.

‘University credit cards are used for payment of authorised business expenditure only, in line with the university expenses policy.’

The findings were part of an investigation by The Sun, which revealed that staff at 54 universities across the country have spent £204million on tax funded credit cards in two years.

University of Nottingham had the highest spending on its credit cards, where staff spent £19.8million, including a £142 on purchases from a sex toy shop.

A spokesperson said: ‘We use cards in our global operation which delivers £1billion to the economy each year.’


Mandatory Credit: Photo by Photofusion/REX/Shutterstock (2267150a) University of Nottingham building UK Education
University of Nottingham had the highest spending on its credit cards (Picture: Photofusion/REX/Shutterstock)

It was revealed that Durham University spent £2,614 at Caesar’s Palace casino during a trip to Las Vegas. The university in north east England spent a total of £17million.

Staff at City University was found to have splashed out £23,790 in just two pubs.

University of Liverpool spent a total of £18million, including £22,000 on Domino’s pizza. Cardiff University spent £3,497 at the same pizza chain.

The investigation also found that a member of staff at Queen Mary University in London used the credit card to pay a litter fine.

The 54 institutions who responded to the Sun’s Freedom of Information request got £1.2billion from the public in 2017/2018.



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