EXCLUSIVE - We need to talk about Kevin
Last week the Mirror published a story about Kevin Brennan and Emma Foulger, a British couple on the run, accused of conning their victims out of their savings, unpaid bills, and more.
You may recognise their names, as they used to run the Hérault Times before they mysteriously went missing in October 2014, leaving a trail of huge debts, bad feelings, and chaos behind them.
This week we’ve been talking to some of Kevin’s victims, and here are some of their stories. There’s more to follow tomorrow.
What we do know for sure, is that Kevin is wanted by the French police for a debt of €240,000 to an individual in the region who was their friend. A woman is allegedly owed €60,000, and a PR firm are claiming that he owes them €26,000 for promotional work for which he never paid. There are various other claimants for debts, totalling an alleged one million euros of debt. The claimants include local people who worked for him, and people who are claiming to have been fleeced through property deals here in the Languedoc, and subsequently in Italy.
Victoria Foulger, Emma’s sister, summed it up in the Mirror article “I just want them to stop living in their fantasy world and realise they are leaving a trail of destruction behind them.
“I worry for my nieces as they are vulnerable and have been dragged along with this. Mai is only 16 and we don’t think she has been to school since they fled France in 2014.
"I’ve tried to get in touch but every time I call they have moved on somewhere new.”
Barry Beckett worked for the Hérault Times from 2012 to 2014, and we spoke to him on Sunday to get his views on the story.
Barry is a talented professional British photographer and designer, who first came across the Hérault Times publication in 2012, and got in touch with Kevin and Emma to see if he could help them with the cover of the magazine. He thought the content of the magazine was worthy of a better front cover.
When they met, Kevin told Barry that no one was getting paid at the Hérault Times, and that there was a silent investor who had put money into the business and had given Kevin two years to make it a success. Barry agreed to do the cover photography for nothing with the promise of a full-time paid-for job within two years, and an exhibition at a gallery in Narbonne which Kevin was setting up.
Barry was also given the job as house photographer for a magazine called “l’Artiste”.
Needless to say, none of these promises materialised in the end, despite Barry’s two years of work.
Barry explained that Kevin was very plausible. “He was intelligent, and knowledgeable about design and photo issues. He seemed very well connected, and I was convinced that he was a genuine business man who was capable of pulling off a large project like this.” Kevin talked about an Italian connection, he said he knew Michael Schumacher, that he had millions to invest, that he knew London gangsters. In short, a colourful and plausible character.
The plan for the arts magazine l’Artiste was that Kevin would launch it nationally, not just for the Languedoc region. Consequently Kevin hired PR company “In The Mood” to do interviews, videos, and set the scene for the big launch in Montpellier. Two weeks before the launch in 2014, Kevin announced that he was pulling the plug on Montpellier, and that the launch would be done in London.
To cut a long story short, Barry and the team were left hanging on day after day, with suitcases packed, and the launch was ‘postponed’ by Kevin’s sidekick Emma time after time. Eventually Emma agreed to meet Barry at Montpellier to hand over the €2,600 which Barry was owed, but she didn’t show up to the meeting.
Kevin and Emma then did a disappearing act. Barry called the organisers in London, who said they were not able to talk about the situation, and the hotel where they were due to be staying had never heard of Kevin Brennan.
Today, Barry is philosophical about his own situation, but he is genuinely concerned about the safety of Emma’s two girls from her previous marriage. The girls are 22 and 16, and are apparently with them. They haven’t posted anything on Facebook since they disappeared in October 2014. Others also fear for Emma’s safety.
Various people have said to us, “How could so much of this mess have been happening without us realising it?” One possible answer is that Kevin surrounded himself with people on whom he lavished great praise (in private) whilst declaring that the rest of the team were worthless. It’s a well-known technique used by manipulators to stop people from talking to each other, and hence slowing down the process of discovery.
Another victim, Sonya Saldana, has told us that Kevin has been very close to being arrested in Italy. She shared her police report with us, and we’ll tell you more about that tomorrow. Currently, despite some recent Facebook posts to the contrary, Kevin is not in police custody. He is allegedly in Arezzo, Italy where police have apparently identified them but have not made any arrests.
If you have been affected by Kevin, please do get in touch with us. You can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. If you don’t want your name to be published, we will respect that.
Read our other articles about Kevin and Emma here:
British budget airline easyJet will continue to expand its presence in France next…