Good Morning Britain presenter Kate Garraway is reportedly facing a huge £716,000 tax bill after she was forced to close down her husband’s business following him becoming stricken with Covid-19 in 2020.
The final total will be settled within the coming weeks, with friends insisting she will pay whatever is owed once the bill is decided, but it brings further anguish to the presenter after an extremely difficult few years.
Ms Garraway cares for her husband Derek, who now relies on a wheelchair, after he suffered one of the worst-known reactions to the virus after contracting it in March 2020.
She previously revealed it had left him with issues in his digestive system, his liver, his heart, his brain and his nervous system.
The couple now face deepening financial worries as they wait to hear how much they owe the taxman in the wake of the firm’s bankruptcy.
Kate Garraway is now a full-time carer to husband Derek, whose health was decimated by Covid in 2020
The tax bill is related to Derek’s psychotherapy company, which went into liquidation last year
Derek, 55, is a trained psychotherapist and set up his own firm Astra Aspera Ltd in December 2011.
In March last year the company was forced into liquidation with HMRC estimating the tax owed to total £124,000. This was made up of VAT and PAYE/NIC due to a total of almost £54,000 and Corporation tax due to a total of just over £70,000.
But the latest documentation published by HMRC shows they have now issued a claim to liquidators to the sum of £716,822.74. Liquidators are currently considering the claim.
A friend of Kate told the Sun: ‘The figures are terrifying and Kate is of course worried about all the financial pressures, but she has to trust the process.
‘When it comes to an end, she is determined to pay back anything that’s owed.
‘It’s no secret that Kate has been battling to keep her husband alive and working through some heartbreaking situations in her personal life in recent years.
‘Sadly as well as the emotional stress of Derek’s terrible illnesses the financial burden has also been crippling.’
A friend of Kate told the Sun: ‘The figures are terrifying and Kate is of course worried about all the financial pressures, but she has to trust the process’
Garraway pictured with Derek, their daughter Darcey and son Billy in 2018
Psychotherapist Derek (pictured) spent more than a year in intensive care – with doctors claiming he was the most seriously-sick patient to have survived the virus
In 2021, Ms Garraway said: ‘Covid has devastated him. His digestive system, his liver, his heart, his nervous system. We’re pretty sure the inflammation did pass through his brain. He is in a terrible state. But, look, he’s alive.’
Derek, who is the UK’s longest-suffering patient of Covid after being admitted to hospital with the virus in March 2020, returned home from hospital in April 2021 where he received round-the-clock care.
But he was readmitted to hospital in 2022, and in April 2023 and still requires complex healthcare.
She previously revealed how coronavirus triggered a rare inflammation of the brain which doctors had never seen before.
Doctors were concerned about parts of Derek’s brain scans which looked like ‘fluffy white clouds floating in the top part of his head’, she wrote.
The areas signified inflammation on the brain and were seen as early as April, when Derek was first put on ECMO – a machine which oxygenates the blood.
Because the brain takes a long time to recover, doctors warned Kate: ‘We can’t rule out some kind of recovery, but we can’t rule out him never recovering.’
He is still largely bed-bound and doctors have said he is the most seriously ill patient to have survived the virus.
He is confined to a wheelchair and has been learning to speak again – but requires 24/7 care at home.
During the early stages of his illness, Derek’s story touched many – including royalty.
The then-Prince of Wales Charles wrote to him while he was in hospital, as Kate revealed on Good Morning Britain.
Ahead of King Charles III’s Coronation earlier this month, the broadcaster, 56, spoke kindly about the monarch and how he supported her husband, who has been left with life-altering after effects from his lengthy battle with the virus.
She said: ‘I think he is a very careful kind man. He put: “I really hope that you’ll get the chance to read this to Derek”. And I have had the chance to read that to him.’
She had previously met Charles at the Prince’s Trust Awards 2020, which occurred just before the pandemic prevented such events from taking place.
Kate revealed at the time she and the now monarch had got ‘relatively close’ at the Prince’s Trust Awards on March 11 – Charles was diagnosed with coronavirus in mid-March.
She described how her husband became seriously ill: ‘Around the 29/30 March, I came home and said [to Derek] “god you look ill”.
‘He said he had a headache, numbness in his right hand, and was struggling to breathe.
‘I rang Dr Hilary (Jones) and tried to get through, he talked to Derek. He said put me back on, I think you need to call an ambulance’.
Derek was taken into hospital on March 30 and remained in an unresponsive condition, later entering a coma.
On June 5 2020, Kate revealed Derek was free from coronavirus but continued to fight against the damage inflicted on his body – and a month later she revealed Derek had woken from his coma but remained in a serious yet critical condition.
At the end of September of the same year, Derek became the longest surviving patient with coronavirus after spending 184 days in and out of intensive care, where he lost eight stone.
On July 6 2022, Kate revealed that Derek had been re-admitted to hospital after suffering a ‘downturn,’ and in a later interview said she takes things ‘day by day.’
On July 20, it was reported that Kate had pulled out of hosting Good Morning Britain to be at Derek’s bedside after he took a ‘very serious’ turn for the worse.
Recalling the traumatic day, the 55-year-old ITV star told The Sun: ‘At one point Derek said to me, “This is it, this time. I am gone.” It was just terrifying.
‘His sepsis was gut-wrenching for all of us because it had gone undiagnosed until the point where it was about to take his life away again.’
While Derek’s long-term chance of recovery is still not known, the ‘utter devastation’ to his body is undeniable.
The Good Morning host admitted that there ‘is no end point’ to his care and her new way of life can be ‘exhausting’ for those around her.