A prostitute described as a "sex goddess" failed to pay up to £15,000 of tax on her earnings, a court heard.

Angela Nangle, 56, worked as an "erotic services provider" from a luxury flat on the seafront near the Palace Pier, Brighton.

She advertised her "body worship" business in the press and on the internet, charging £150 an hour or £600 a night.

Under the pseudonym Letitcia, Nangle wrote a book entitled Body Worship: True Stories Of A Sex Goddess about her life and sold copies on the internet.

But she was a tax "ghost", with the Inland Revenue having no record at all of her earnings, a jury at Hove Crown Court was told yesterday.

Nangle, of Marine Parade, Brighton, denies knowingly evading tax by failing to declare income liable to tax between 2002 and 2006.

The court heard that the amount of unpaid tax she owed was estimated at between £9,000 and £15,000 over the four years.

She told tax investigators she at first believed the work she did was illegal and so was not liable to tax.

Nangle said when she found out that working alone as a prostitute is not illegal she was still unsure about her tax status.

Nicholas Hamblin, prosecuting, said: "This is a case of someone failing to notify the Revenue that they are earning.

"It is about someone earning money and failing to notify the authorities of their existence.

"This lady was involved in working in the sex industry as a provider of sexual services.

"In interview she said she was a provider of erotic services. Another way of putting that would be prostitution. It must have been obvious that she was earning income from a trade and there is no issue in that in law. Earnings from the sex industry as a trade are liable to taxation."

The court heard Nangle had worked as a cleaner and then a filing clerk for the Inland Revenue in Cambridge between 1974 and 1977.

She had then moved to Spain and later to Australia before returning to Brighton in 1992.

Revenue and Customs investigator Yvonne Kelly said she began looking into Nangle's finances in December 2005.

Nangle's bank accounts revealed she had earned between £25,000 and £40,000 in the three years from 2003 to 2005.

Tom Allen, defending, asked Mrs Kelly if there were any tax records for Nangle when she worked for the Inland Revenue.

He said: "She had worked for the Revenue but somehow that had not been recorded anywhere officially?"

Mrs Kelly replied: "It had but this was a long time ago and we do not keep records for more than six years."

The trial continues.