Monday, 31 March 2014

Woman Claims Top Swimming Coach Molested Her As A 14 Year-Old

Smith: Denies Claims

A woman, who was sexually abused by the Scottish swimming coach she had a crush on as an under-age teen, was inspired by victims of Jimmy Savile to report him four decades later, a court heard today.

Hugh Hamilton Smith, 76, of Southbank Court, Easter Park Drive, Cramond, Edinburgh first approached the 14 year-old in a changing room cubicle then abused her in his car and at his home, the jury were told.

He has pleaded not guilty at Croydon Crown Court to seven counts of indecently assaulting the teenager between August 1, 1973 and May 31, 1975 while the head coach of Beckenham Ladies Swimming Club.

The complainant, now aged 55 years-old, was a keen competitive swimmer and trained daily at the now-demolished Beckenham Grove Baths and at the National Sports Centre, Crystal Palace, south-east London under the tutelage of Smith

"I was so naive, I was in love with him and I thought he was in love with me," she told the court in a video interview. "I wanted to do what he wanted, I wanted to please him I suppose.

"He was an attractive man, quite charming, with a twinkle in his eye and a nice smile. He was fun.

"He was quite tanned, he had been an international swimmer, I think, and was quite fit and looked strong."

Prosecutor Mr. Mark Halsey told the jury the abuse began a few months after the death of the girl's father with comments about her being "well developed" and "top heavy" after a false start in a relay race.

The woman claims she was a regular baby-sitter for Smith, who during the year-long abuse told her: "Don't tell anyone about this." 

At the time Smith - known as 'Hammie' - was married with two young sons, but this didn't stop him walking into the ladies changing room when the girl was in there, the court heard.

"He came into my cubicle and he kissed me," she said. "I had a bit of a crush on him, I suppose.

"I looked up to him. I was a bit in love with him in a teenage way."

She said Smith regularly gave her lifts in his white Volvo and would listen to Radio Two.

"I remember him singing along and looking at me and smiling," she explained, recalling one particular incident.

"He touched my breasts and then he would get me to put my hand on his penis," adding that Smith also fondled her between her legs and asked: "Was that better than when you do it yourself?"

There was a similar incident in Smith's kitchen, where the girl would have breakfast after early-morning training, the jury heard.

"I was wearing my school uniform and he put his hand up my skirt. Once he pressed so hard he lifted me off the ground."

The defendant took her to his bedroom, when his wife was away, and oral sex took place it is claimed. "I remember feeling that I did not want to be doing this."

Smith organised a weekend's training at the National Sports Centre and tried to get into the girl's room, she recalled.

"He was banging on the door and seemed quite cross. The door was locked."

She says the Jimmy Savile scandal prompted her to come forward after believing the events were too long ago and nobody would be interested in her complaint.

"People were coming forward daily with details of thirty, forty years ago. It was not too late, I would be listened to, the climate had changed.

"If I didn't say anything it's as if it didn't happen. It might have happened to other people and I might help other people."

Mr. Halsy said Smith was arrested and quizzed by police. "He said she may have had breakfast with him after training, but denied doing anything inappropriate.

"He said he had never had sexual relations with a girl under sixteen years-old."

Trial continues...........  

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Jail For Lager And Vodka-Fueled Airplane Drunk

An airplane drunk, who had to be restrained with flexicuffs by five cabin crew after washing down prescribed mood-stabilisers with lager and vodka on a long-haul flight, has been jailed for thirteen months yesterday.

Jobless Martin Pitchers, 40, forced the Dubai-bound Qantas plane to turn around over Germany and return to Heathrow Airport when an argument with another passenger over a bag escalated into a foul-mouthed confrontation with staff.

The former full-time carer of The Green, Upton, Norwich smashed a cup holder while shouting and swearing then wielded a piece of the broken wooden shard until he was eventually forcibly sedated.

He pleaded guilty to boarding the Airbus A380, while drunk, on December 9, last year, being drunk on the aircraft and causing criminal damage.

Isleworth Crown Court heard Pitchers was travelling to New Zealand to visit his brother and boarded the first leg of the flight with a one litre bottle of vodka he had consumed approximately a quarter of.

“It was noted that the defendant was drunk and he had to be asked to keep his seat-belt on and said he was suffering depression and his medication was in the hold, but seemed co-operative and apologetic,” said prosecutor Miss Zoe Jacob.

The remaining vodka was poured away, but trouble started twenty minutes into the flight when another passenger, Chris Shepherd, reached overhead for his own bag and Pitchers shouted: “That's my f***ing bag, leave it alone.”

“There was a tussle and the air hostess intervened, but the defendant continued shouting and swearing, lunging towards her face and screaming: 'It's none of your f***ing business, get away from me.'

“Due to his aggressive nature and build it was physically demanding to restrain the defendant and five crew members tried to get him into the business lounge from economy.

“He then became more aggressive and ripped the furnishing off the cup holder and used that to threaten the cabin crew,” added Miss Jacob.

The court heard Pitchers' fists were clenched and he adopted a “fighting stance” and when eventually placed in a seat and restrained with flexicuffs he kicked out at the cabin crew.

“He was waving his arms around and made threats to kill the crew, who tannoyed for a doctor, who concluded Pitchers needed to be sedated.”

As the doctor checked a carpet burn on the defendants' forehead the defendant told him: “You're a condescending c***.”

The captain deemed it too dangerous to continue and the flight, with 477 passengers and crew on board, returned to Heathrow at a cost to Qantas of £31,803.

When quizzed by police Pichers said: “I was silly,” and admitted taking more medication and drinking four pints of lager shortly before boarding.

His lawyer, Mr. Michael Orsulik, told the court: “He is genuinely mortified about his behaviour on that flight and says he is deeply ashamed by his actions.

“He has no recollection of boarding the flight or being taken from the airplane afterwards and says he is horrified and does not recognise himself in the statements.

“He is a compassionate, caring, calm individual and if he could write to all four hundred-odd people on that plane to apologise he would do so.”

Pitchers treated himself to his first holiday in a decade with financial help from his family and a local authority grant after splitting with his partner of ten years, for whom he was their full-time carer.

“He took it very badly and was prescribed mood-stabilisers and anti-depressants.

“He drank to help him sleep on the flight and also took some of his medication, but it seems he took too much.

“He wanted to be knocked out during the flight, but it had the opposite effect.”

Recorder Andrew Wright told Pitchers: “There was no escape for the passengers from the alcohol-fueled aggression you showed.”

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Businessman Caught With Stun Gun And CS Gas After Far East Holiday

Stun Gun Shock: Colin Callow
A businessman, who was facing a maximum of ten years imprisonment after being caught with a stun gun, baton and CS gas cannister after stepping off a plane from Thailand, received a suspended sentence yesterday.

Haulage boss Colin Callow, 61, of Longwood, Sutton Maddock, Shifnal, Shropshire bought the illegal weapons cheaply at a Bangkok marketplace, but was caught after his suitcase was searched at Heathrow Airport.

He claims he did not know the electric stun gun – disguised as a police torch – was a weapon when purchased by his travelling companion and innocently bought the baton when looking for martial arts equipment for his son.

Callow, director of Callow Transport and Storage, pleaded guilty to smuggling the stun gun, friction lock baton and CS gas cannister at the airport on December 10, last year.

He also admitted being in possession of a weapon designed to discharge electricity, possessing a weapon designed to discharge gas and possessing an offensive weapon, namely the friction lock baton.

Prosecutor Mr. James Vine told Isleworth Crown Court Callow had spent three weeks in Thailand with friend Arnold Wilby, 82, and was questioned about the contents of his suitcase on his return.

Inside a green plastic bag underneath clothing the UK Border Agency officer found the weapons and when told they were illegal Callow simply replied: “Oh, are they?”

“He said he had gone to Thailand with a friend and they thought it was a good idea to buy a torch because the lighting outside the hotel was poor at night,” explained the prosecutor.

Travelling Pal: Arnold Wilby
“Mr. Callow told the officer his friend had bought the torch at a market and he had no idea it was a stun gun.

“He said his son had asked him to buy numchukas and when he asked about them at the market he was sold the baton and was unaware that it contained a gas cannister.”

The stun gun was tested and emited blue sparks and made a crackling noise and is deemed by the prosecution to be a non-lethal self-defence weapon.

The baton was telescopic and extended to two-feet in length.

Callow's lawyer Mr. Chester Beyts told the court imprisonment for his client would be a diaster for his company, which he has built-up over thirty-five years, and his seventeen employees.

“There is a public interest that the company doesn't collapse.

“He finds himself in the most extraordinary situation and the strain of court proceedings has been frightening for him and those around him.

“He was a vulnerable tourist excited by the marketplace and cannot believe the situation he has got himself into.”

Sentencing Callow to eight months imprisonment, suspended for fifteen months, Recorder David Fisher QC told the first-time offender: “These are serious offences.

“We are dealing with three weapons capable of causing verying degrees of temporary injury and the ever-present danger exists that they might fall into the wrong hands and be used in crime.”

Callow was also orddred to pay £300 costs and a £100 victim surcharge.

He was supported in court by Mr. Wilby, his two daughters, son and his second-in-command at the company.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Online Gun Trader Who Supplied Suspected Drug Dealer Receives Suspended Sentence

An illegal online gun trader, who sold blank starting pistols that could be converted to fire C.S. gas and other toxic substances, received a suspended prison sentence today.

Butcher John Rhodes, 37, of London Street, Fleetwood, Lancashire was investigated by Scotland Yard after a suspected drug dealer was caught with one of the weapon's in the boot of his Audi Q7 during a police swoop.

“You were not aware their sale or transfer was an illegal activity,” Isleworth Crown Court Recorder John Hobson QC told the defendant. “They are not capable of firing bullets or projectiles, but are capable of firing gas or pepper.

“They are capable of being used offensively, they are capable of causing harm if they fall into the wrong hands.”

He sentenced Rhodes to nine months imprisonment, suspended for eighteen months, and ordered him to perform 150 hours community service work. 

The court heard the father-of-three placed ads on a site called 'Gunstar' for a variety of firearms, typically selling them for £150-£250.

They were usually advertised as blank-firing guns that did not require a firearms licence and customers incuded a Colt 45 purchaser, who needed the gun for a World War Two re-enactment and a security consultant who worked in Afghanistan.

He pleaded guilty halfway through his jury trial to twenty-two counts of selling or transferring a weapon designed or adapted for the discharge of gas on or before September 13, 2011 and one count of selling or transferring a Heckler & Koch MPSK-PDW air weapon without a firearms certificate.

A total of twenty-four firearms were seized by police and eighteen will be destroyed with the remainder to be held for future reference purposes.

Rhodes' online identity was 'Johnshotgun' and 'JJMilitaria' and after opening the 'Gunstar' account in 2010 he then set up a second account on another firearms website in 2011.

Police raided his address on September 13, 2011 and Rhodes, who is not the holder of a firearms certificate, told officers he bought the weapons from abroad and thought they were legal.

He estimted his total sales were in the region of fifty firearms and started the business: “To make a couple of quid.”

Rhodes had a small amount of cocaine in his pocket and was cautioned for that offence, claiming he had bought the drug, but not consumed it during a recent night out.

The charges, relate to a Umarex Walther P22; Retay Desert Eagle; three Umarex Colt 1911's; Zoraki 925; Walther P22 forearm.

Rohm RG3; Ekol Viper; Heckler & Koch P30 Walther PP; Ekol Jackal Dual.

Colt 1911; Ekol Special 99; Colt Government 1911; Ekol Jackal Dual blank-firing pistol; Walther P22 blank-firing pistol.

Colt 45 blank-firing pistol; Saver P239 blank-firing pistol; Walther P99 blank-firing pistol; Ekol Viper; Heckler & Koch MPSK-PDW air weapon and a Walther P22 blank-firing pistol.

His lawyer Mr. James Bourne-Arton told the court: “There were no gas cartridges recovered from Rhodes' address and no one bought a gun and then bought any cartridges.”

The firearms are legal in Germany and the lawyer added: “You would be better off arming yourself with a cricket bat, baseball bat or a knife.

“There have been no connections here to any acts of violence.”

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Nightclub Thug Returned To Shoot Four Bouncers

A nightclub troublemaker, who was violently thrown out of the venue by bouncers, has been caged for 22 years after he returned and tried to shoot dead four of the door staff.
Tunde Olutosin, 24, (pictured) of St. Norbert Road, Brockley had some of his teeth knocked out and received a facial injury when ejected from Fire, Parry Street, Vauxhall in the early hours of May 19, last year.
He was found guilty at the Old Bailey of four counts of attempted murder and possession of a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life.
When sentencing Olutosin the judge declared him a dangerous offender. 

This result follows a reactive investigation by the Metropolitan Police Service’s Trident Gang Crime Command. 

Officers discovered that a fight inside the venue had resulted in door staff ejecting one of the participants, Olutosin.
He argued with security personnel outside, at one stage brandishing a broken bottle.
This behaviour led to him being physically restrained by the doorman, sustaining a facial injury and losing some of his teeth.
He was released and left the area after making repeated threats to return with a gun and kill the door staff.
He came back a short time later armed with a revolver. 

Olutosin discharged the weapon several times aiming at the four individual door staff.
Fortunately, nobody was hit and it was evident he had difficulties with the gun, which jammed a number of times.
He then escaped the scene prior to the arrival of police.

Having been forensically identified as a suspect by DNA at the scene, a firearms search warrant was executed at Olutosin’s home address on May 24.
Investigating officer, Acting Detective Sergeant Sylvia Diggins of the Trident South Reactive Team, said: “Through his own violent behaviour, it was necessary for the security staff to eject Olutosin from the nightclub to ensure the safety of other nightclub-goers.
“This caused him to sustain injuries whilst they tried to restrain him.

“However frustrating this may have been for Olutosin it did not warrant him arming himself with a gun and then firing at the door staff.
It is a miracle that no-one was harmed.

“I hope this significant sentence sends a clear message to those involved in gun crime that they will be caught and will be placed before the courts."

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Police Hunt Rogue Cabbie After Sex Assault Claim

Police investigating a woman's claim that she was subjected to a sex attack after getting into a suspected mini-cab in the West End have released this CCTV image.
The 39 year-old woman reported a sexual assault between 3.00am and 5.00am in Kingly Street, Soho on November 3, last year.
The woman had enjoyed a saturday night out and got into the vehicle in the early hours of sunday morning.
Officers from the Metropolitan Police's Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command have cirulated this CCTV still with the aim of tracing the suspect.
He is described as white,, with a tanned appearance and in his mid to late forties.
He may have had an Eastern European accent.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Constable John Isaacs on 020 8733 5062 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Cowardly Mugger Who Violently Robbed 82 Year-Old Caged

A violent mugger, who dragged his octogenarian victim off a bus and to the ground as he snatched £1,500 cash, was jailed for seven years yesterday.
John O'Rourke, 41, (pictured) of Lytham Close, Thamesmead pounced on the 82 year-old victim – who died two months later – as they travelled on a number 53 bus towards Plumstead on September 9, last year.
He pleaded guilty to robbery and was sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court, which also ruled he should spend an additional five years on licence when he is released.
They both boarded the bus in Woolwich New Road and sat on the lower deck, where O'Rourke sneaked up on the victim from behind and tried to put his hand inside the pensioner's shirt pocket.
The victim reacted and tried to prevent O'Rourke from stealing his money, resulting in a struggle and the defendant dragging the man off the bus and onto the ground.
Members of the public, who came to his aid, were told by O'Rourke that he was just "helping the victim".

The pensioner was dragged to Waverley Crescent, Plumstead where O'Rourke stole his wallet and left him on the ground.

Following the robbery officers conducted a number of CCTV enquiries and identified footage of the incident.
Greenwich Borough PCSO Pan Psarias - a super-recogniser, who is highly skilled in recalling faces and details - viewed the footage and immediately recognised O'Rourke.

A warrant was executed at his home address and a pair of shoes identical to those O'Rourke can be seen wearing in the CCTV footage was found.
Detective Constable Stephanie Walker, of Greenwich Borough police, said: "O'Rourke targeted a vulnerable, frail man and did not care about the hurt or fright he caused him.
“He subjected the victim to a prolonged attack and did not stop until he finally stole his cash.
“Sadly the victim died just two months later and whilst there are no links between his death and the robbery, I have witnessed first hand the damage caused by this crime and how it affected the victim's confidence."

Monday, 24 March 2014

Fraudster Pocketed Late Mother's Pension

A fraudster said nothing when his deceased mother's £630 a month pension continued to be paid into his bank account because he wanted to make improvements to his home.

Carpenter Graham Tomlinson, 65, of Fairby Grange Cottages, Ash Road, Hartley, Longfield, Kent pocketed nearly £8,300 until Logica, who managed the Metropolitan Police Pension, realised what was going on and demanded the money back.

The first-time offender pleaded guilty fraud by failing to disclose information between March 1, 2012 and March 12, last year and was conditionally discharged for two years and ordered to pay £340 costs.

Prosecutor Miss Shazia Ahmed told Croydon Crown Court the pension was paid into a joint account Tomlinson held with his mother and continued after she passed away.

Her death was not reported, which would have ended the pension payments, and the company did not discover the true position for a year.

Logica's first three letters on the subject were ignored and after they received no reply to a fourth recorded delivery letter they call in the police.

When Tomlinson was arrested he confessed everything to the officers.

“He told them he had a breakdown after his mother died and was in financial difficulties,” explained Miss Ahmed.

“He said it took six months for him to realise the money was being paid into the account and he needed it for work done on the house.”

At that stage Tomlinson was given a chance to repay the money, but failed to do so.

It has now been repaid in full.

His lawyer Mr. David Claxton told the court: “He nursed his mother through her illness up until her death. Mr. Tomlinson has angina and high blood pressure.”

Judge John Tanzer told Tomlinson: “Basically you let matters run and you shouldn't have.

“People turn a blind eye. Things were left to carry on running and he buried his head in the sand.”

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Burglar Locked-Up For Stabbing Homeowner To Death

A vicious knife-wielding burglar, who stabbed to death the fifty-year resident of a smart home he raided, has been caged for life.
Joseph Griffiths, 72, ( was stabbed twenty-two times in his Hazlebury Road house in fashionable Fulham.
Aaron De Silva, 22, (pic.bottom) of Warwick Road, Earl's Court was convicted of murdering Mr. Griffiths during the early-morning break-in on November 9, 2012.
Detective Inspector Simon Pickford of the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: "De Silva is an extremely violent individual who had no hesitation in stabbing the victim repeatedly in a frenzied and brutal attack after he was disturbed having broken into Mr Griffiths' home.
"I must pay tribute to Mr Griffiths' family who have been left utterly devastated by what happened.
“They have conducted themselves with the utmost restraint and dignity throughout this tragic incident and my and my team's thoughts are with them."
The victim had enjoyed an evening out with his wife and visiting friends the night before and at around 6:20am one of the guests was awoken by a commotion and shouting that sounded like "get out" and "who are you?"
Downstairs they discovered the victim's wife sobbing and screaming and Mr Griffiths lying in the hallway on his back with his dressing gown covered in blood.
Police and the ambulance service were called, but Mr Griffiths was pronounced dead at the scene.
A post-mortem examination later revealed the businessman, who had two grown-up sons and seven grandchildren, died of multiple stab wounds.
Enquiries revealed a pair of bolt croppers had been stolen from a neighbouring garden shed overnight and the basement-level rear kitchen window of the Griffiths' home had been forced with the handle of the bolt croppers.
Deadly: Murder Weapon
De Silva had climbed over four garden walls and negotiated trellises and hedges to get to the back of the Griffiths' house.
He had then opened the back door ready for his escape.
The murder weapon (pictured) – a lock knife was found near the murder scene in Snowbury Road had a bloody handle that matched that of the victim.
A partial DNA profile matching De Silva was found on the handle.
CCTV showed De Silva back at his hostel around an hour after the murder listening to music, seemingly entirely unaffected by what he had just done.

He was arrested on November 13 and charged two days later.
In an impact statement the victim's son Mark said: "The murder of Joe in such a brutal and senseless manner has left a gaping hole not only in our immediate family but also the families of all who knew him.
"What should have been a happy Saturday get-together for the whole family was shattered by the numbing news of Joe's murder.
“Instead of coming together as a family to share a meal we were gathered together in very different circumstances that, even today over a year hence, does not seem real.
"Writing this some fifteen months after that dreadful day, those events were real and we as a family are living with the devastating consequences of that terrible act of violence.
“The sudden loss of Joe has caused severe stress among all family members and has especially hit his seven grandchildren.
"The whole family, and our circle of friends, still feel a deep sorrow and sense of loss since Joe's murder.
“Members of our family have had to deal with recurring nightmares, triggered by that fateful day.
“We can only hope that with the passage of time these nightmares and feelings will lessen.
"Judy (mum) took the brave decision to return to the house where her husband was murdered, trying to live her life as normally as possible.
“This is the house where she and Joe had lived for fifty years, where one of her children was born and where both sons were raised.
"An irreplaceable member of our thriving family business was lost.
Fifty years of business experience and acumen gone in a wanton act of mindless violence.

"He is, and will always be, sorely missed by everyone."

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Life On The Edge: Homeless Man Murdered By Polish Drifter

A Polish rough sleeper, who beat a fellow homeless man to death – inflicting fatal chest injuries with repeated punches – has been convicted of murder.

The body of Alfred Stemporowski, 55, ( was found on May 30, last year in the brick refuse building he called home in Keats Close, Enfield.

An Old Bailey jury convicted 30 year-old Damin Walczyk, (pic.bottom) who also slept there, of murdering the victim during an unprovoked drunken attack.

A post mortem examination revealed he died after suffering major chest injuries and fractures to his rib cage.

A married couple, who also sheltered in the building, witnessed the violent assault during the early evening of May 29.

Alfred was asleep on a mattress when, without warning, Walczyk - who had been drinking - grabbed him, pulled him up and began punching him repeatedly in the face and upper body.

When the couple began shouting at him to stop Walczyk, who is younger and larger in stature, threatened them with the same and blocked the exit to stop them leaving.

They asked why he was attacking Mr. Stemporowski and Walczyk replied: “For the love of my country,” - a Polish phrase that means doing something for no reason at all.

A short time later the witnesses managed to escape and tried to get help from various members of the public, however due to the language barrier they could not be understood and neither police or the London Ambulance Service were called.

Later that day they returned to the refuse building to find Walczyk asleep and Alfred on his mattress.

Assuming he was asleep they left him alone.

At about 6:00am the following morning they were unable to rouse Alfred and realised he had died.

Detective Chief Inspector Sheila Stewart of the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “Damin Walczyk launched a totally unprovoked attack on Alfred Stemporowski.

“The level of violence he used was terrifying and he used this to intimidate the witnesses present.

“He used his muscular build and propensity for violence to assault and intimidate the persons he lived with and ultimately murder an innocent man.”

Friday, 21 March 2014

Voyeur Secretly Filmed 15 Year-Old Girl In Shower

Hammersmith Magistrates' Court

A child porn voyeur, who secretly filmed a fifteen year-old girl showering at his home, where she and her mother were regular guests, was exposed after a sudden raid by Scotland Yard's Paedophile Unit.

John Cleur, 41, of Capel Road, Forest Gate also kept recordings of the girl's mother, which he made using a camera hidden inside a spectacles case placed on the edge of the bathroom sink.

Officers made off with incriminating computer files and seized more material when they searched his mother's home in Mortlake Road, Ilford.

Cleur pleaded guilty at Hammersmith Magistrates' Court to three counts of voyeurism in that he took sexual gratification from recording a person doing a private act on dates between July 21, 2011 and March 22, 2012.

He also pleaded guilty to two counts of making an indecent image of a child and one count of posseesing 49 indecent images of a child.

Cleur was placed on probation for two years and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

He must also sign the sex offenders register for five years and an indefinite Sexual Offences Prevention Order was made, which controls his internet use.

The court heard computer equipment, including a tower and USB sticks were seized by police and Cleur confessed to visiting porn sites such as 'Jailbait' which featured girls aged between 11 and 15.

His favourite scenes were voyeuristic in nature and the defendant admitted to officers this inspired him to film his own.

He agreed he received sexual gratification from watching the teenage guest showering at his home and also kept footage of her mother.

The court heard the domestic “fall-out must have been enormous”, particularly as Cleur's wife was at home during the first police raid.

The first-time offender was told it was “tragic” he should find himself in court for such offences.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Notorious Benefit Fraudster Back In The Dock For £194K Scam

Now You See Me

A notorious housing benefit cheat featured on BBC's 'Saints & Scroungers' after a £90,000 scam was sentenced today for his role in a £194,000 crisis loan swindle.

Jobless Emmanuel Ikem, 29, (pictured) of South Norwood Hill, Upper Norwood was involved with his brother Peter Ikem,31, in a fraud, which saw a total of 228 bogus applications made for taxpayers money to cover deposits and the first month's rent for multiple prospective tenants.

However, Emmanuel was not sent back to prison after the Recorder of Croydon Warwick McKinnon ruled that it would be "quite unjust", and Peter, who had a larger role in the scam, received a two year sentence. 

Both pleaded guilty at Croydon Crown Court to conspiring to defraud the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions between March 1, 2011 and November 12, 2012.

A third defendant, Steven Coote ,38, pleaded guilty to one count of fraud in relation to a crisis loan application on November 30, 2011 and was fined £750, with a £75 victim surcharge.

Emmanuel Ikem received two years imprisonment at the same court in October, 2012 for a five-year fraud, during which he created thirteen fictitious identities, forged birth certificates, tenancy agreements, utility bills and other documents.

He also had a sideline in insurance fraud, pocketing another £8,000 in payouts for non-existent injuries, but was exposed when his unsuspecting parents reported all the suspicious correspondence arriving at the family home.

Ikem made claims on properties he controlled, were derelict or occupied by an unsuspecting resident.

"You have served a sentence of two years and today's offences go back to before you were sentenced and it would be quite unjust to send you to prison," the judge told him, passing sentence of six months imprisonment, suspended for one year.

Now You Don't
The court heard the multiple bogus applications were linked to a series of telephone numbers used by the brothers and fictitious landlords they created.

Interest-free crisis loans are available to legitimate claimants to cover housing costs and are repaid from deductions to future benefits.

Prosecutor Mr. Stephen Hopper told the court: "They provided telephone numbers and fake landlord identities to others and took a cut of the loan.

"They would also make the phone calls on behalf of the applicants who were not as confident. Coote was one of the applicants."

Typically  a successful crisis loan application netted between £750 and £1,000 and Coote received £900 for his bogus claim, with the brothers claiming they took a one-third cut from all successful applications.

The court heard Peter Ikem, of Hawthorne Avenue, Thornton Heath was the more active of the brothers in the plot, which funded his "long-standing" cocaine use, and claims totalling £164,000 are attributed to him and £43,000 to Emmanuel.

Department of work and Pensions (DWP) investigators carried out a surveillance operation and watched as the brothers drove the applicants to their Jobcentre interviews and waited outside, sometimes posing as the new landlord during telephone checks.

However the DWP became suspicious when multiple applications were linked to the same phone numbers and a fictitious story of becoming homeless after a fall-out with a non-existent aunt was used by applicants again and again.

"This was a deliberate, targeted fraud on the social security system, which is vulnerable to deliberate fraud of the character here," Judge McKinnon told the brothers.

"This was a carefully planned, sophisticated fraud. This was deliberate and over a significant period of time and we are dealing with substantial sums of money."

He told sobbing Emmanuel, who broke down in tears after seeing his brother jailed: "I was impressed by your letter. Just make sure you keep on the right road."

There will be no Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings because the loans are repaid from deductions to future benefits received by the applicants.

The brothers were ordered to each pay a victim surcharge of £100.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Junkie Ex-Wife Of 'Mr Arsenal' Tony Adams Jailed

Junkie: Jane Shea
The junkie ex-wife of former Arsenal and England captain Tony Adams was jailed for twelve months today for stealing handbags from guests at private parties she infiltrated.

Jane Shea, 47, has now clocked-up twenty-eight offences, mostly committed to fund her drug habit, which one ex-boyfriend claimed cost her £250,000 a year when they were together.

She was sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court with accomplice Vannessa Joseph, 33, a fellow resident at an Upper Holloway house in St. John's Grove that has been divided into rooms - a far cry from her former Footballer's Wives lifestyle.

Shea pleaded guilty to stealing a £200 handbag, containing a £300 iPod, on November 17, last year from the nearby Archway Leisure Centre, which had been reserved for a young boy's birthday party.

Both pleaded guilty to theft from the Carpenter's Arms pub, Fitzrovia on January 25, when a guest at a private function had her handbag stolen by Shea and an iPhone was pinched by Joseph.

Accomplice: Vannessa Joseph
The Eastender married Adams, 45, in July 1992 at a grand country house and the couple have a son, Oliver, 22, and daughter Amber, 18, and Shea has another daughter from an earlier relationship, Clare, 28.

The couple's marriage collapsed in 1997 as Shea struggled to cope with her drug addiction and Adams wrestled with his own drinking demons.

Repeated admissions to drug rehabilitation clinics to beat her addictions failed and Shea's nadir was ten years ago when she was arrested after junkie Teresa Tuppen, 44, was found by police dead in the back of her BMW.

"Both of you have had a long history of suffering drug and alcohol addiction and many of the offences you have committed were from those habits," Judge Peter Murphy told the pair, who have been locked-up since their joint arrest.

"You both have appalling records for dishonesty and this is not the first time community orders were tried and did not succeed.

Digs: St.John's Grove
"There was a depth of planning. These were not spontaneous, and you must have known these were private parties and infiltrated them, posing as guests, and stole when their backs were turned.

"These were sophisticated offences and the public must be protected against offences of this kind."

Prosecutor Mr. Alistair Walker told the court a couple had hired the leisure centre's pool area and set up tables and chairs for guests of their son's birthday and it was closed to the public.

"The husband saw Shea standing near a vending machine and was suspicious of her, because he did not recognise her.

"She had a dark jacket hanging over her arm and he observed his wife's handbag in her possession."

Shea was challenged about having the bag, but replied: "No I don't," and claimed she was waiting for her child in the changing room. "It was all a bluff," added Mr. Walker.

"She left, bashing past the husband and another parent and into the street and made off."

Shea was later identified as the thief on a video identity parade.

While on bail she and Joseph targeted the West End pub, which had taken bookings from several private groups that evening.

Target: Carpenters Arms
"They were mingling with the guests and trying to blend in, but a member of one of the group's found a handbag was missing and attention turned to these two defendants.

"Shea was carrying her bag, but inside was the one she had stolen and both defendants were pursued by a number of people."

She was stopped by police in Charlotte Street and Joseph was caught on a bus, where she had tried to hide the iPhone underneath a seat.

Shea's convictions include numerous thefts, plus burglary, having counterfeit currency, driving while unfit and she has breached non-custodial sentences such as drug rehabilitation requirements and community orders.

Joseph has thirty-one previous convictions including robbery, burglary, theft, going equipped, possession of 'crack' cocaine and handling stolen goods. 

Shea's lawyer Miss Margaret Anucha told the court: "She has tried to make use of her time in custody, attending counselling for drug abuse and methadone and alcohol detox programme.

"She has abstained from using drugs while in prison."

The offences breached a court imposed community order Shea was on and Miss Anucha added: "She has had a long-standing problem with drugs, has a family, children and a grandchild."

Shea received six months for the leisure centre theft, plus four months for stealing at the pub, with two months added for breaching her community order.

Joseph received six months, plus two months consecutive for also breaching a community order.