A DIRECTOR at a charity for bereaved families has denied trying to oust the parents of murdered schoolgirl Amanda Duffy in order to secure a highly-paid job for her boyfriend.

Lesley Carmody told an employment tribunal that she "respected" Joe and Kate Duffy, who founded Petal (People Experiencing Trauma and Loss), and denied allegations she had them removed to help her partner Neil Moore, now chief executive of the charity.

Mr Duffy, 65, is suing the Hamilton-based group for unfair dismissal after he was sacked amid claims of aggression and financial irregularities.

The tribunal in Glasgow heard that Mrs Duffy was also removed as a director and member of the management committee after Ms Carmody changed the rules surrounding who could hold such a position.

Ms Carmody claims she made the changes to the organisation's articles of association following advice from charity regulator OSCR, however no documentation has been presented to the tribunal showing such guidance.

Advocate Frances Connor, representing Mr Duffy, put it to Ms Carmody that she made the advice up. She replied: "That's completely incorrect."

Ms Connor added: "You wished the Duffys removed so that you could take over Petal."

The director replied: "That's not correct at all. I have absolutely no issue with the Duffys. I respected the work that they did."

Ms Connor also suggested that shortly after Ms Carmody joined the charity she took the decision to remove many of the people who had helped to create it, with the exception of Mr Moore and his mother Theresa Bryce, who is also a director.

Ms Carmody replied: "That's not correct."

The advocate then said: "Just over a year after you joined, you have Mr Duffy suspended, you have Kate Duffy removed from the management committee, you have Kate Duffy removed as a director, and eventually the position is secured where your partner has gone from a non-paid position to one attracting a significant salary, that's the reality of it, isn't it?"

Ms Carmody replied by saying that the changes leading to Mrs Duffy being removed were made on the guidance of OSCR, adding: "There were also a number of financial irregularities which were uncovered relating to Mr Duffy."

The witness denied that she had "earmarked" Mr Duffy's job for Mr Moore.

Ms Connor said: "The funding that paid Mr Duffy's salary now pays Mr Moore's salary?"

Ms Carmody replied: "Yes."

She also confirmed that Mr Moore previously worked as a carpet salesman on a lower salary before becoming Petal chief executive.

The tribunal was earlier told that Mr Duffy, of Hamilton, used his own companies to provide services to Petal. He was also accused of being aggressive towards another member of staff.

The tribunal continues.