The IT boss of an international City law firm who used company cash to buy £175,000 worth of high-end mobile phones, which he sold to fund his online gambling habit has been spared jail.

Instead, Marlow father-of-two Justin Lowdon, 44, who was employed by US-based Proskauer Rose at their Bishopsgate office received a suspended two year jail sentence on Thursday (February 6).

Lowdon, of Newfield Gardens, pleaded guilty at Inner London Crown Court to fraud by abuse of position between January 1, 2013, and September 2015.

Recorder SJ Phillips QC told him: “The amount was significant. You were employed as the IT manager and you ordered mobile phones, which were not required and sold them on for your own benefit.

“The reason you did this is because you were under a lot of stress in your job, you had an online gambling addiction and significant personal debt.

“There is no excuse for what you did and this criminal behaviour you know is wrong and you should not have done it.

“This is a serious crime that must be reflected in the sentence I hand down, but the fact that it has taken three years to come to court must be taken into account.

“You have not used money to fund a lavish lifestyle and if I sentence you to imprisonment today it would have a significant impact on your wife and children.”

The court heard that an internal audit uncovered the fraud in 2017.

Also ordering first-time offender Lowdon to pay £1,500 costs Recorder Phillips QC added: “This was serious and extremely foolish.

“I would have been well within my rights to send you into custody for more than two years.”