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Friday, 18 April 2014

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Dying Carlisle drug dealer bids to keep hold of crime cash

A dying drug dealer is trying to avoid paying a £16,000 court bill – because, he says, his house is falling down.

Gordon Bradshaw, 45, was ordered to pay £16,452 under the Proceeds of Crime Act in October last year after being convicted of drugs offences.

Bradshaw, of Harrison Street, Currock, had earlier been given a 12-month prison term, suspended for two years, after admitting possessing £11,000-worth of cannabis and cocaine with intent to supply it.

The judge told him he would probably have gone to prison had doctors not said his heart condition meant he might not live beyond the next five years.

Last year Bradshaw did not dispute the prosecution claim that he should repay £16,000 of the profits he had made from his criminal behaviour – a figure, to which he consented, which was based on the money he would have left over after selling his house and paying off the £60,000 mortgage.

But, a judge at Carlisle Crown Court heard that he claims the house, which was then valued at £76,000, is now worth only £60,000 because of what was described as “a structural defect”.

That has wiped out the equity he had in the house, leaving him with nothing to hand over to the court.

Bradshaw’s barrister David Pojur said the newly discovered “defect” had made the mid-terrace house impossible to be sold.

“We were confident in the sale of the house but there is now no prospect of a buyer,” he said.

Mr Pojur asked the sum to be paid under the Proceeds of Crime Act to be reduced from more than £16,500 to just £192 – the amount the police already have in their possession since it was on Bradshaw when he was arrested.

But prosecuting counsel Patrick Buckley objected, saying it seemed a “coincidence” that the value the house had lost exactly matched the amount Bradshaw had been ordered to pay.

He said no official current valuation had been made of the house, or of the work needed to make it fit to be sold.

The supposed £60,000 valuation was an “uninformed and slightly unscientific valuation” by an estate agent who had not looked into how much would have to be spent on repairs, he said.

“For all we know the fault just needs a week’s work to be put right,” he said.

Judge Paul Batty QC gave the parties two months to clarify the value of the house and the likely price of the necessary repairs.

 

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