Lord Sugar gives Apprentice winner Stella English the boot

"I'm gutted," she told The Sunday Mirror. "This was my dream and I had worked so hard for it, suddenly it's all over. I have to stand up for myself. I don't want to be seen as ­another failed Apprentice. I respect Lord Sugar, I was trying to make him proud."

The tale of Stella's descent from hero to zero has many twists and turns. Having landed the £100,000 a year job at Lord Sugar's computer firm Viglen, she landed on planet earth after the glamour of The Apprentice - with a bump. Stella found herself in a junior role, reporting to a manager on a fraction of her salary. "I was just a glorified PA," she told the Daily Mail.

Stella quit the job in May 2011 but found herself shunted into another of Lord Sugar's companies. She joined YouView, an internet and TV digibox firm expected to rival Freeview and Sky, where Lord Sugar is non-executive chairman.

Lord Sugar tweeted of the appointment: "Stella has contributed a lot in her time at Viglen. There are exciting times ahead for YouView and I felt she was perfect to assist me on this project."

But there was soon trouble in paradise.

Ten days ago the Apprentice winner was told that her contract at the firm would not be renewed. English claims that Sugar told her: "Your ­contract's up at the end of December and I don't know what to do with you after that because that's it, so you might think about what you want to do.

"I've met my obligations to you as far as I'm concerned," he added. "You were happy to walk out on me, weren't you?"

In the last week, Stella handed in her notice and will leave before her contract ends in December.

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