Saturday, 30 June 2012

Croydon Armed Robbers Hunted

Flying Squad offices hunting gun-tooting robbers, who raided a Croydon store, have released these CCTV images of two of the suspects.

Three raiders entered JK Gold and Fashion House, London Road, at 1.00pm on January 10.

Two of them were armed with handguns and they threatened staff – robbing them of cash and a mobile phone.

Officers are asking anyone with information as to the identity of the two men to contact the Flying Squad in the strictest of confidence on 020 7232 6530 or to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Broke Barrister Battles It Out With The Taxman

A respected Family Law barrister - financially crippled by unpaid bills - who continued illegally representing clients without lodging a security with the taxman after a history of flouting VAT, was fined £6,300 yesterday.

Paul Pavlou, 41, Agincourt Road, Hampstead was effectively banned from his profession after HMRC insisted he must provide an upfront payment to them running into thousands of pounds to continue working.

He pleaded guilty at City of London Magistrates' Court (pictured) to ten charges of supplying legal services between December 9, 2010 and June 15, last year without giving a security as required by a HMRC notice, contrary to the VAT Act.

"You are in a profession that requires the highest possible standards when it comes to finances and it is disappointing for this bench to see you in these circumstances," Magistrate Mr. Spyro Elias told Pavlou. "It would be for the best, as far as this bench is concerned, to never see you again."

The barrister, who has practised for nineteen years and has chambers in Temple, was also ordered to pay £675 and the entire amount within four months.

"We are making a collection order and if you do not pay someone will come knocking on your door looking for the value of the debt," added Mr. Elias.

"Over the years he was not one of HMRC's better payers," said prosecutor Mr. Anthony Swift. "The defendant did not do it properly, got into a tangle, and HMRC lost patience with him."

Eventually Pavlou was forced to lodge a £49,910 deposit with HMRC to ensure VAT was paid, but after this was exhausted he continued illegally providing legal services without the deposit, resulting in the charges.

The court heard 90% of Pavlou's work is government-funded, representing local authorities such as Essex County Council and the London Borough of Ealing, but the barrister claimed he was plunged into debts of over £90,000 by waiting up to a year to be paid.

"What HMRC were saying was that unless you lodge that security you cannot trade. In effect we cannot trust you because you are charging VAT, but not paying it on," explained Mr. Swift.

"Each charge represents him continuing to trade in breach of the notice," said the prosecutor, adding HMRC are currently owed £16,804 in unpaid VAT by Pavlou.

His lawyer Mr. Gerard O'Connor told the court: "The man who sits in the dock appears in a state of abject shame.

"He has been a family law barrister for nineteen years and was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn and has been, until his sorry appearance before you, a man of exemplary character, carrying out an important job in the public arena."

Pavlou complains his fees were cut by 10% in 2001 and 10% again in 2010.

"The time between billing and payment was going up to often twelve months," said Mr. O'Connor. "The impact on his ability to budget is obvious. It makes things incredibly difficult.

"He just stopped being paid and his income plummeted. He was living at that time hand to mouth, he had no savings, no assets and was left little in terms of options.

"He was faced with a very stark choice. He regrets it now, but asks you to take in the particularly difficult circumstances he faced," said Mr. O'Connor.

"He is not now practicing unlawfully and the security has been paid."

Pavlou is currently paying £500 per week to clear income tax debts with Inland Revenue and £250 per week to HMRC and has been loaned money by family, friends and the Bar Benavolent Association.

"He had no intention of acting dishonestly or defrauding the public revenue," added Mr. O'Connor.

"As a barrister there are extremely limited things you can do when the government stops paying. A barrister cannot sue anybody."

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Brother Of Footballer Jermaine Defoe Caught With Knife And Drugs

The brother of Tottenham and England striker Jermaine Defoe - caught with a knife and cannabis when strip-searched by police - was fined £225 today.

Shane Defoe, 25, (pictured) of Higham Hill Road, Walthamstow, claims he began smoking the drug again to relieve stress after his late father was diagnosed with cancer.

He pleaded guilty at City of London Magistrates' Court to possessing a knife blade or sharp pointed article, namely a lock knife, at Bishopsgate Police Station on April 22 and possessing cannabis on the same occasion.

His finances are a world away from the glamorous lifestyle of his striker brother, with the court ordering a £10 weekly deduction from his Employment and Support Allowance.

Prosecutor Miss Melanie Lee told the court: "It was in the early hours, 1.15am, when officers stopped a VW Golf in Bishopsgate, which contained four occupants and Mr. Defoe was a passenger.

"When the officers stopped the vehicle they conducted a search of the vehicle and its occupants and found a small bag of cannabis in the front footwell and the four gentlemen were detained.

"Nobody would say who the cannabis belonged to and they were all subjected to a strip-search in custody and a cannabis joint was found in his trouser pocket and a six inch lock knife was found in his shorts.

"During this search Mr. Defoe removed his jeans and underneath was wearing knee-length Nike shorts.

"At this point a lock knife made off metal fell to the floor and the officer immediately stepped on it and moved it towards the cell door.

"He was interviewed and made no comment to all questions regarding the circumstances of his arrest, the cannabis or the knife.

"He prepared a statement in which he said: 'I admit possession of the cannabis found on my person. I am sorry for this and know it is against the law'."

At Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court in January last year Defoe received a small fine for possessing cannabis.

"In relation to the lock knife there is nothing similar on his record," added Miss Lee.

Defoe's lawyer Ms Maha Sardar told the court: "Mr. Defoe has pleaded guilty to both offences at his first available opportunity on his first appearance.

"As you heard it was a small amount of cannabis on his person for his personal use.

"After his previous conviction he put a stop to using cannabis, but after his father became ill he did occasionally smoke cannabis to alleviate the stress.

"Moments before the car was stopped a passenger gave him the bladed article to hold. It was not used to threaten anyone or cause fear.

"Mr. Defoe has shown extreme remorse for his actions.

"Given the recent passing of Mr. Defoe's father on the seventh of June a community order, with an unpaid work requirement, would not be appropriate.

"He is not employed and doesn't have any savings," added Ms Sardar, explaining Defoe's benefits restart on July 7 after they were cancelled when he failed to sign-on.

Magistrate Mr Spyro Elias told Defoe: "The bladed article is very, very serious. There are guidelines that it is a custodial sentence, first time or not."

Defoe was also ordered to pay £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge, but when asked for a contribution complained: "I literally have just come with my travel fare. I have ten pounds, but need five pounds to go home."

He was ordered to pay the £5 immediately and Mr. Elias added: "As and when your benefits do start you can inform the court to make the deduction.

"A collection order means if you do not pay your fine someone will knock on your door to recover the value of the fine. Don't ignore it."

The magistrate added: "We have read on the report that he has an extremely supportive family."

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Failed Asylum-Seeker Murdered Girlfriend Day After Visa Defeat

A failed Iranian asylum seeker – who battered his teenage girlfriend with a hammer before strangling her – failed in his final appeal to remain in the UK the day before.

Ako Khalid, 19, of High Street, Barkingside pleaded guilty to murdering student Cheryl Tariah, 17, (pictured) at his hostel on February 7.

He was sentenced at the Old Bailey to life imprisonment – with a recommendation he serve ten-and-a-half years.

Khalid claimed he lost his temper after Cheryl confessed to cheating on him with another man.

Police were called shortly before 4.00pm, following reports of a disturbance at a flat along the high street.

Officers attended and discovered the body of Cheryl, from Chelmsford, Essex. 

A post-mortem examination gave cause of death as compression of the neck. 

Khalid boasted to a pal he had repeatedly struck Cheryl with a hammer, before strangling her.

He was arrested three days later at Dover, trying to smuggle himself out of the country, clinging to the underside of a lorry.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Balaclava Bandits Binned

Two prolific masked robbers who targeted betting-shops in East London – raiding one bookies four times - have each been jailed for eight years.

John Crick, 37, ( and Jason Chin, 40, (pic.bottom) only netted £2,000 from the robberies, during which they terrified staff by convincing them they were armed.

They were hunted down by Flying Squad officers, based at Barking, identifying Chin while he was serving a four-year robbery sentence, having been sentenced in 2000 to twelve years for a string of robberies.

Both Crick and Chin would enter the betting-shops wearing balaclavas.

One of them would go directly to the counter and either intimate a firearm or brandish a bag suggesting a weapon was concealed within, forcing staff to hand over cash.

The second male would wait and hold the door to the premises, securing an easy escape.

The offences were:
28 November 2010 - Corals, 97 Southgate Road, Islington.

10 December 2010 - William Hill, 51 Wilton Way, Hackney. 

31 December 2010 - William Hill, 355 Wick Road, Homerton. 

2 February 2011 – Ladbrokes, 81-83 Mare Street, Hackney. 

2 February 2011 - Corals, 97 Southgate Road, Islington. 

5 February 2011 - William Hill, 406 Hackney Road, Brthnal Green. 

8 June and 5 November 2011 - Corals, 97 Southgate Road, Islington. 

5 November 2011 - William Hill, 167 Mare Street, Hackney.

A search of an address linked to Chin led to the recovery of a distinctive black fur-lined hooded jacket worn by one suspect during the spate of robberies.

His accomplice, Crick carried on solo to commit further offences but was later identified by the Flying Squad and arrested.

A search of his home revealed several key items, including jackets worn throughout the series of offences and a distinctive pair of trainers and jeans worn during the robberies. 

Investigating officer Detective Constable Mike Baines said: “Despite the low gain, these men continued to rob bookmakers, causing staff a great deal of distress.

“Criminals intent on targeting commercial premises will continue to attract the scrutiny of the Flying Squad.”

Monday, 25 June 2012

'Safe House' Gunman Jailed For Storing Rifles

A man caught in a police swoop on his North London home with two powerful assault rifles in the wardrobe of his spare room has been jailed for six years.

Mohammed Ismail, 29, of Plowmans Close, Upper Edmonton was arrested by the Metropolitan Police’s Central Task Force, who were supported by armed officers from CO19.

They recovered a Belgian Fabrique Nationale fully-automatic assault rifle and a semi-automatic L1A1 self-loading rifle (pictured) – capable of firing up to 460m - during the February 26 raid.

Ismail pleaded guilty at Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court to possession of prohibited weapons.

Officers believe he may have been storing the weapons for other individuals, with his premises being used as a safe house.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Wagstaff said: “My officers are constantly seeking to target the upper echelons of organised crime linked to the supply of firearms to gang members within London’s Boroughs.

“This is an excellent example of their expertise in supporting the efforts of borough and Trident teams in tackling gang violence.

“The self-loading rifle is an extremely devastating assault rifle and this seizure means that two more live weapons have been taken off the streets of London.”

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Lowest Of The Low: Do You Recognise This Burglar?

Police have released this E-Fit of a suspect, who tricked his way into a lone woman’s home with an accomplice, and emptied her handbag after she was slapped around the face.

The duo visited the address in Chart Street, Islington on May 30, claiming they had to check water pipes and the washing machine – and produced a bogus id.

This E-Fit is of the second suspect, who searched the 37 year-old’s living room while suspect number one asked the occupier to clear pots and pans out from underneath the sink.

When she heard suspect number two in the living room she attempted to leave the kitchen to investigate, but was immediately grabbed by suspect one and slapped around the face.

He held the victim in the kitchen as his accomplice removed money and cards from the victim’s handbag.

Both suspects then left the address.

Suspect two is described as a white man, aged 30 - 40 years, six feet tall, of a stocky build.

He has grey hair and a scar or a scratch that ran from his nose down past his mouth, on the left side of his face.

He was wearing a check shirt and blue gloves, which had a ‘NIKE’, branded tick on the top.

Suspect one is described as a white man, aged 30 to 40 years, six feet one inch tall, with black hair.

He has a flat nose pushed to one side, as if it had been broken.

He was wearing a white T-shirt and blue Jeans.

Anyone with information is asked to contact DC Michelle Savage, from Hackney's Serious Acquisitive Crime Unit, on 020 7275 3232.

Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or email

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Cocaine Courier Caught Returning From Caribbean Family Holiday

A cocaine smuggler, caught with nearly £1m worth of the drug hidden inside two suitcases as he returned with his family from his Caribbean wedding anniversary trip, was jailed for six years yesterday.

Winston Williamson, 52, of Milership House, Shropshire Way, West Bromwich, West Midlands, claims violent loan sharks he owed money to pressured him into the illicit importation.

He was arrested and charged along with his wife Mernel McNaughton, 46, of Wallows Lane, Bescot, Walsall and his niece Nadine Burris, 35, of Sadler House, Newton Drive, Birmingham.

All three, accompanied by three young children, were stopped at Gatwick Airport on March 3 after a covert examination of one of their bags.

Williamson (pictured) pleaded guilty at Croydon Crown Court to importing cocaine and the same charge was dropped against the two women after he insisted they knew nothing about the smuggling operation.

“The mischief and misery that could have been caused by that amount of cocaine in incalculable,” the Recorder of Croydon Judge Warwick McKinnon told Williamson.

“This is a very large amount and you played a significant role.

“You were in this with your eyes open. You knew what you were getting into and did it for the money.”

Eight kilos of cocaine with a purity of 62-81% was found hidden in the bottom of two sports bags – one carried by Williamson and the other left uncollected.

Prosecutor Mr. Hamish Reid told the court the parties’ baggage was identified at the airport’s north terminal.

“One of the bags, in the name of McNaughton, was of interest and these three defendants and the three children with them were intercepted.

“When questioned Williamson said one of the bags was his and the other, which had been left, was Burris’s.

“Williamson’s bag was inspected and the base felt thick and was bulging,” explained Mr. Reid. “The bag was x-rayed, revealing packages in the base that contained white powder.”

A second bag, identified with Burris’s name tag, was also examined.

“It felt heavier than expected and the x-ray revealed something in the base and white powder was found that tested positive for cocaine.

“Williamson said he was experiencing financial difficulties and was under pressure to debtors to carry drugs back.

‘He said he was given two bags to carry back and gave one of them to Burris.

“He said his wife and cousin had no knowledge as to what was being carried in the suitcases.”

The prosecutor submitted the presence of the two women and three children were there to provide cover for the smuggling operation.

“He does not accept he used his wife and his niece as a decoy,” said Williamson’s lawyer Mr. Steve Akinsanya. “He had a change of mind having brought the drugs from Jamaica and left one of the cases behind.

“He had borrowed a sum of money that doubled in four weeks and he and his family were threatened. He agreed to go to Jamaica and bring back the drugs.”

The trip doubled as an anniversary celebration with his wife and an opportunity for Burris, who is engaged, to explore the possibility of getting married there, the court was told.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Three Executives Jailed For Multi-Million Pound Sainsbury's Potato Scandal

A greedy Sainsbury's potato buyer, lavished with cash and luxury hospitality totalling £4.9m in return for corruptly granting a multi-million pound contract, was jailed for four years today along with two executives.

Buyer John Maylam, 45, ( ran up a £200,000 bill at London's Claridge's Hotel; enjoyed a luxury £350,000 twelve-day fortieth birthday holiday to the Monaco Grand Prix; a £93,000 "shiny, black" Aston Martin car and received cash payments totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds stuffed inside brown envelopes.

He guaranteed the lucrative contract with Greenvale AP, whose account manager David Baxter, 50, (pic.mid.) received two-and-a-half years and finance director Andrew Behagg, 60, (pic.bottom) three years.

Maylam, of Blakeney Close, Bearstead, Maidstone pleaded guilty to corruption between January 1, 2006 and January 1, 2008 by accepting gifts from the Greenvale AP directors and acquiring criminal property, namely £1,158m held in a Luxembourg bank account.

Baxter, of Holly House, Chester Road, Hinstock, Market Drayton pleaded guilty to corruptly giving Maylam gifts and consideration between the same dates and acquiring criminal property, namely goods, services and cash between June 1 and July 1, 2007.

Behagg, of London Road, Cambridge, denied, but was convicted of corruption, claiming he was the victim of "extortion" by Maylam.

"There will be many who find the details of this extravagance fascinating and some who may find it entertaining," Croydon Crown Court Judge Nicholas Ainley told the defendants. "Put simply this is bribery and corruption, also corruption involving theft on a huge scale.

"Greenvale wanted to keep the contract……worth forty million pounds and offered Maylam all the lavish entertainment he wanted, over one million pounds of it, in order to save the business.

"It was theft because it was not Greenvale paying the bribe, Sainsbury's were. Sainsbury's' corrupt employee Maylam was allowing himself to be bribed with his own employers money.

"All three of you knew it and all three of you approved it.

"As far as Maylam and Baxter were concerned it was a till to be rifled and Behagg signed-off ludicrous expenses claims, knowing his company would not be paying the money, but Sainsbury's would."

The judge told Maylam: "You abused that trust so you could lead the life of a rich man and what started off as a generous requirement of expenses ended up as utter abuse."

Baxter, who developed liver cirrhosis because he was drinking so much champagne and fine wine, was told: "You also took the opportunity to lead the life of a rich man as someone else's expense. You gave Maylam everything he asked for."

Judge Ainley told Behagg: "You knew Sainsbury's were the victims of theft on a vast scale, yet you signed-off all these invoices."

Maylam's lawyer Mr. Nicholas Walker told the court: "The public will view the spending and consumption out of touch and excessive to the point of vulgarity."

The on-time "uber-performer" claims family and friends have "dropped him like a brick" and Mr. Walker added: "He knows that he faces ruin. Financial ruin."

"What this case concerns is corruption on a massive scale through the payments of excessive gifts and hospitality," said prosecutor Mr. Paul Ozin. "As a result of the corruption Greenvale gained the benefit of keeping Sainsbury's' valuable business and overcharging Sainsbury's for potatoes."

The £40m contract was ratified by Maylam and Greenvale poured £8.7m of Sainsbury's money into an account nicknamed 'The Fund' - paying Maylam and his associates £4.9m and keeping the remainder for themselves.

"Mr. Maylam was corrupted with wholly excessive gifts and hospitality to show favour to Greenvale and work against the interests of his own employers," explained Mr. Ozin. "The hospitality ran into many hundreds of thousands of pounds.

"Firstly they reimbursed Mr. Maylam's own extravagant expenses after he entertained himself at luxury restaurants and hotels, paying his bills at luxury london hotel's, including Claridge's, which came to two hundred thousand pounds.

"Not only was he staying at the hotel, but he was using it as a bank and withdrawing thousands of pounds.

"There were further payments for luxury holidays abroad and very, very lavish corporate entertainment."

Maylam received £85,000 for an unnecessary consultancy report; money was funnelled into John Maylam Potato Consultants; he and Baxter consumed "dozens and dozens" of bottles of expensive vintage Dom Perignon champagne at Claridge's - often followed by a fine claret.

Baxter also enjoyed an all-expenses Antigua trip - financed by 'The Fund' - received an £85,000 BMW M5 from Maylam and spent a total of 77 nights at Claridge's.

Maylam's bill for a presidential suite during the GP was £48,000 alone and receipts proved a £200 bottle of Dom Perignon was bought for him at the five-star Mandarin Hotel, Knightsbridge shortly before an £843 sushi meal.

He was also entertained at the luxury Blue Palace Resort & Spa, Crete, where Greenvale ensured there was a bottle of chilled Veuve Clicquot champagne on his arrival, plus a bouquet of freshly-cut flowers and strawberries and cream.

Sainsbury's own code of conduct demands all hospitality gifts must be placed in a charity raffle and failure to do so may result in misconduct proceedings and dismissal.

"Further money was syphoned off by Mr. Maylam by using bogus businesses pretending to be something else and became another way of taking lot's of money," added the prosecutor.

"One and a half million pounds was paid to Mr. Maylam through third parties and a bank account in Luxembourg. The payments were made on the bogus basis they were for potato research or storage of potatoes in Spain.

"A peculiar feature of the corruption was that it was self-funding. Greenvale were not paying for it, Sainsbury's were paying for the corruption of their own buyer and this was achieved by overcharging Sainsbury's."

Baxter was based at offices in Tern Hill, Warrant Road, Stoke Heath and gave evidence against Behagg, who worked from Harvest House, Bridge Street, Chatteris. "Mr. Baxter paints a picture of corruption that goes to the very heart of Greenvale. To the senior management," said Mr. Ozin.

Baxter claims Maylam had an arrangement with the company's chief executive officer from June, 2005 to receive secret cash reimbursements for his expenses.

"Mr. Maylam sent his receipts in envelopes to Mr. Baxter's home address to avoid Greenvale scrutiny and he then took them to Mr. Behagg. Mr. Baxter would then deliver the cash in a brown envelope to Mr. Maylam.

"Mr Baxter says 'The Fund' was discussed in senior management meetings that were attended by Mr. Behagg, who explained to the others what went through the books.

"Mr. Maylam then made it clear he wanted more and was told the payment could be for a consultancy report, which was suggested by Mr. Behagg. This resulted in a payment of eighty-five thousand pounds."

Sainsbury's also ended up paying more for Greenvale's potatoes than agreed.

"What happened under Sainsbury's radar was that Mr. Maylam was agreeing to massive increases in the price of potatoes. The prices were much too high.

"One technique was to add on one pound to a crate and with the volume we are talking about it soon adds up," said Mr. Ozin. "They also supplied smaller packs for the same price and there were illogical prices for new packs."

A financial investigation into the defendants assets will follow.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Illegal's Dream Of Starting Life In Britain Granted

A Pakistani illegal immigrant, asphyxiated his sister-in-law with a plastic bag before setting fire to her East London family home, to guarantee her silence.

Abdul Jabbar, 54, (pictured) of Palmerston Road, Walthamstow became obsessed by 27 year-old Fiza Asif’s knowledge of his status and murdered her when the rest of her family were out.

He was convicted by an Old Bailey jury and sentenced to life imprisonment – with a twenty-three year minimum.

The fire brigade were called to a blaze at the address on January 4, last year and the mother-of-five’s body was found.

Jabbar’s motive was a feeling of control and power Fiza had over him and knowing he could face deportation if she ever reported him.

He ensured her young children – his nieces and nephews - were not at the family home when he murdered Fiza.

Her husband, Muhammed Arshad, 42, was visiting Pakistan, but was also charged with murder and appeared in the dock alongside his brother, but was cleared.

A third man, Ibrahim Farooq, 20, was cleared of perverting the course of justice.

CCTV evidence showed Jabbar purchasing 5 litres of petrol that morning and evidence confirmed that petrol was poured over the victim’s body and in the bedroom where she was discovered.

Acting Detective Chief Inspector Steve Meechan, who led the investigation, said: “This was a calculated and premeditated act by an individual who was trusted by the victim and her family.

“He lived within the family home and had day to day dealings with their family lives. 

“The actions taken by Jabbar were as a result of a desire to be rid of a young intelligent woman who threatened his illegal existence in this country and who held more power than he was able to deal with. 

“Jabbar adopted the pose of a grieving relative throughout the investigation but was unable to hide the lies provided to police as the evidence against him was uncovered.

“His actions now leave five young children motherless and a family torn apart as a result.”

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Pub Glassing Thug Locked-Up

A pub customer, who punched a teenage girl in the face before striking her father over the back of the head with a glass and reigning down a flurry of blows, was jailed for two years and four months today.

Tyre fitter Rhys Henley, 25, (pictured) of Sanderstead Road, Croydon was captured on CCTV striking the victim to the head and body approximately ten times after he was floored by the blow from behind with the glass.

The father-of-two denied, but was convicted by a Croydon Crown Court jury of affray at the John Jackson pub, Woodcote Road, Wallington in September, last year and assaulting the 16 year-old girl.

"Prison it must be and and prison today," Judge Ruth Downing told tearful Henley, whose daughter is recovering in hospital from meningitis.

"I would be failing in my duty if the message did not go out that young men, such as yourself, who go out to public houses and beat people in front of others, face imprisonment.

"Why should people have to sit and watch your conduct.

"It was unprovoked and disproportionate to any slight you may have felt.

"It was premeditated and I found the CCTV images chilling of you walking across the pub, picking up a glass or bottle from a table, and hiding it behind your back.

"You hit him as hard as you could and when he went down you hit him repeatedly. The violence was repeated and not in self-defence."