LiveAs it happened - Brookhouse sentencing day two

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Last updated

This live event has finished

Summary

  • Day two of an estimated two week hearing
  • Mitigation for Richard Brookhouse and wife Diane Brookhouse expected today
  • Court deciding how to sentence all members of heroin and cocaine ring
  • Co-defendants Andrew Wilde, Karl Glennon, Paul Harwood and Steven Harwood also appear

2:45pm

That is the end of our live coverage today. 

Thanks for joining us. 

We will resume live coverage when sentences for the drug couple are decided. 

It is estimated to be next week, but we will update you when a date has been set.

2:42pm

That ends mitigation for Mr and Mrs Brookhouse. 

They are expected to be sentenced next week, although a date has not yet been confirmed. 

2:41pm

Mr Christie finishes by saying Mrs Brookhouse has suffered 'fragile mental health'. 

She has no previous convictions. 

2:39pm

He says if there was money spent, it was hundreds of pounds a month, not thousands. 

2:38pm

Mrs Brookhouse lost 'large amounts' of her money when a property was repossessed, the court heard. 

She is now 'destitute', according to Mr Christie.

2:36pm

 

In no way could the Brookhouse lifestyle be described as luxurious. There may well have been some comforts, but it's a fact that the defendant and her children lived in rented accommodation.

Simon Christie, defending

2:34pm

Talk turns back to Mrs Brookhouse's lifestyle.

2:33pm

Mr Christie says Mrs Brookhouse did not drive her husband to drug meetings, but was in the car. 

He says she was 'in the vicinity' of the meetings when they took place, but did not participate directly in them.

2:26pm

When her family is mentioned, Mrs Brookhouse puts her head in her hands.

2:25pm

He says she has 'made arrangements' for her children to be looked after when she is imprisoned. 

Judge Woodward said earlier he had made thorough checks and was satisfied that will be the case. 

2:23pm

Mr Christie says the mum-of-two did not live an extravagant lifestyle with drug money.

2:21pm

Mr Christie says he expects Mrs Brookhouse to be sent to prison. It 'will happen', he says.

2:16pm

Mr Christie says he can't remember a case where so many sentencing options could be taken. 

2:15pm

Simon Christie, who represented Mrs Brookhouse during trial when she was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine, is representing her again today. 

Her mitigation is starting now.

2:12pm

Court resumes. 

2:11pm

Defendants are back in the dock as we wait for Judge Woodward to resume proceedings. 

Mitigation for Mrs Brookhouse expected this afternoon. 

1:26pm

Court adjourned for lunch. Back at 2.05pm.

1:24pm

Court hears Wilde has been taking part in birds of prey rehabilitation programme while in prison. 

Raised a hawk from 14 weeks, apparently. 

Birds are used to increase 'well being' of prisoners suffering from low esteem.

1:23pm

 

He was in charge of the transport team. He was not a wholesaler or major drug dealer himself. He wasn't the top man in this operation. He received orders from the top man.

Simon Berkson, defending Wilde

1:17pm

Mr Berkson says he wasn't involved in transporting drugs before this conspiracy.

1:15pm

Wilde organised the fishing rips to France as an 'easy way to make money', the court hears.

1:14pm

Due to a barrister needing to be at another court this afternoon, mitigation has turned to Andrew Wilde. 

Simon Berkson is defending the man described as 'transport manager' of the operation.

1:12pm

Mr Flewitt says Mr Brookhouse has contacts at the 'highest level' and they were used to 'source' the large consignments.

1:10pm

Mr Swift says Mr Brookhouse has accepted he will be sentenced on the prosecution's version of how drugs were sourced. 

 

1:08pm

Were under way again. 

Likely to be a short session before a lunch break.

1:07pm

Defendants are being brought back into court.

12:56pm

Worth noting Diane Brookhouse has been allowed to sit in the public gallery during proceedings. 

Defendants would normally be grouped in the dock.

12:55pm

Apparently, ongoing delay is because Mr Brookhouse is 'mulling things over'. 

Has been asked to consider basis of guilty plea and how much of a role he is admitting to. 

12:51pm

It is not yet clear on what basis each defendant will be sentenced and how serious their respective roles will be considered to be. 

Sentences are likely to be handed out next week.

12:50pm

Judge Woodward has also given an indication of what sentences could be. 

The court heard large scale importation is likely to result in a sentence of more than 20 years.

12:44pm

Judge Woodward has said the letter will not be considered. 

12:43pm

Mr Swift said he advised Mr Brookhouse the letter was likely to have no bearing on the court case. 

However, Mr Swift said it was an 'indication of happy times when he was living a law abiding life'.

12:41pm

A letter was handed to Judge Woodward from Mr Brookhouse. 

Mr Swift said it referred to 'saving the life of a woman in Warrington by jumping into a canal'. 

The letter also referred to a second life saving intervention by Mr Brookhouse of a drowning woman in Wales.

12:39pm

Steven Swift has been defending on behalf of Mr Brookhouse. 

He says the defendant played a lesser role in the drugs ring than has been claimed.  

Mr Swift conceded it remained a 'massive operation' and that Mr Brook house's involvement is aggravated by being sentenced to 22 years in prison for a previous drug conspiracy.

12:34pm

Still no sign of when proceedings will resume here, so let's have a quick recap. 

12:19pm

There is no indication of when we will resume at this stage. 

Mr Swift has been given as much time as he needs to speak to Mr Brookhouse. 

12:13pm

A break has been called by Judge Woodward for Mr Swift to speak to his client. 

Judge wants details of his guilty plea to be checked, in terms of how much of a role he is admitting too. 

That will affect his case, and how co-conspirators are defended.

12:11pm

He also says the transport operation, run by Wilde, was already in operation, meaning Mr Brookhouse's role is reduced.

Mr Flewitt says if members of the gang needed drugs they would go to Mr Brookhouse as he had contacts and 'knew where to get them'.

12:08pm

Mr Swift says Mr Brookhouse's role is not as 'vital' as described, as he did not finance the operation, or contact directly foreign suppliers.

12:04pm

 

This wasn't the man who was sourcing the drugs and running the transport team.

Steven Swift, defending

12:01pm

Mr Swift says Mr Brookhouse was 'not the dominating figure' of the operation. 

11:55am

Judge Woodward says he will give the document 'no consideration whatsoever' when deciding sentence. 

Mr Swift said that advice was given to Mr Brookhouse.

11:53am

Mr Swift, defending, has given letter from Mr Brookhouse to Judge Woodward. 

It apparently refers to two occasions in which the defendant saved the life of drowning women, once in Warrington, once in Wales.

11:51am

Mitigation for Mr Brookhouse is starting.

11:38am

Mr Flewitt is now discussing how the co-defendants should be sentenced. 

Wilde, Steven Harwood and Paul Harwood are said to have played significant roles.  

Wilde was 'transport manager' dealing with importation. 

Paul Harwood went on fishing trips to collect drug consignments. 

Steven Harwood was involved in the trip when police swooped in Essex on April 6 last year, to seize 78kg of class A drugs.

11:32am

 

You could take the view that as an equal partner of Mr Brookhouse, all that I have said about him applies to her

Neil Flewitt QC, prosecuting

11:24am

Also says she could be sentenced as 'performing a limited function under duress'. 

Says her sentence is 'most difficult' to determine. 

11:23am

Mr Flewitt has now turned to Mrs Brookhouse. 

Says court could take view she played a 'significant role' and should be sentenced as 'equal partner' of her husband in the enterprise.

11:18am

Mr Flewitt says Mr Brookhouse has 'influences' on others in the ring, was connected to the source of the £15 million drugs seized by police and stood to benefit 'significantly' from its sale. 

That means he deserves a high sentence, says Mr Flewitt.

11:10am

Bit of legal wrangling going on at the minute. 

Neil Flewitt QC and Judge Nicholas Woodward discussing starting points for sentence in terms of years for various defendants.

10:59am

We're getting started. Mitigation for Richard Brookhouse, aged 45, first up. 

Steven Swift is acting on behalf of Mr Brookhouse. 

10:49am

Barristers starting to come into court. 

Usher rings down for defendants to be brought up from cells. 

Start appears to be imminent. 

10:44am

To recap before we get going, the court is set to hear more about the illegal activities of Mr and Mrs Brookhouse. 

Defence barristers will attempt give reasons for their behaviour when we get going.

10:39am

Just hearing the start for today's hearing has been delayed until 10.50am.

10:36am

See here for a reminder of yesterday's action

10:35am

Morning and welcome to Warrington Crown Court for day two of the hearing to sentence husband and wife Richard and Diane Brookhouse, and other members of the operation that imported large amounts of cocaine and heroin into the northwest from France.

Comments (1)

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1:02pm Tue 28 Jan 14

old-codger says...

Mr Swift conceded it remained a 'massive operation' and that Mr Brook house's involvement is aggravated by being sentenced to 22 years in prison for a previous drug conspiracy.

It certainly wont go in his favour.
Mr Swift conceded it remained a 'massive operation' and that Mr Brook house's involvement is aggravated by being sentenced to 22 years in prison for a previous drug conspiracy. It certainly wont go in his favour. old-codger
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