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Chief reporter’s month-long probe prompts business coach to pay £5,000 debt

Conor Gogarty 2Thousands of pounds of debt has apparently been paid after a journalist’s investigation into allegations of plagiarism and “unscrupulous behaviour” by a business coach.

Conor Gogarty, chief reporter at the Bristol Post and its Bristol Live sister website, has won industry plaudits after spending a month looking into the activities of self-styled ‘Master Fixer’ Linda Davies-Carr.

Conor’s investigation resulted in a long-read “story of court orders, designer shoes, alleged plagiarism and a trail of women who feel manipulated” after he interviewed four people who have had dealings with Mrs Davies-Carr.

Conor, pictured, found a credit report on her Master Fixer company showed two county court judgements against it in the past 18 months, one for £5,805 and another for £3,105.

The larger debt allegedly remained unpaid after the court’s deadline this month, but the creditor claimed Mrs Davies-Carr paid hours after Conor contacted her.

In his piece, published last Sunday, Conor wrote: “Some former clients of the Master Fixer say her business guru image is in stark contrast with their experiences.

“Mrs Davies-Carr has often spoken of her aim to empower women in business – but Bristol Live has interviewed three women who used her coaching services and feel they were exploited.

“The Master Fixer has written of her disdain for the ‘Malibu Barbie approach to coaching’ and argued the importance of making clients feel valued.

“‘Your potential clients don’t care how busy you are,’ she posted on Facebook recently. ‘It’s not about you.'”

“But the women we interviewed claim their working relationships with Mrs Davies-Carr saw them repeatedly ignored, promises broken and thousands of pounds wasted.”

The piece has won plaudits from industry figures including Gary Lawrence, former editor of the Oxford Mail and Swindon Advertiser, who described it as a “sterling piece of journalism” on Twitter.

Simon O’Neill, another ex-Oxford Mail editor, added: “Wow. This is how to do in depth local reporting. A great read.”

And University of Gloucestershire journalism trainer Paul Wiltshire said: “Meticulous reporting and engaging storytelling from the always excellent Conor Gogarty here.”

Conor told HTFP: “I’m really thankful I work for a publication which supports investigative journalism and gave me the time I needed to work on this story.”

Mrs Davies-Carr’s full response to Conor’s investigation can be found here.