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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Neil Docking

Faces of 19 people jailed in Liverpool this week

This list includes 19 people locked up for crimes linked to Merseyside this past week.

Courts heard about a despicable son who betrayed his mum's trust and a boyfriend who left his partner's sister blind in one eye. Meanwhile, one judge sentenced a mum who stole more than a quarter of a million pounds from her employers and enjoyed the high life.

Judges had to sentence a drug dealer known as "The Big Guy" and one of Liverpool's most notorious crooks who is back behind bars again. They also sentenced a kidnapper who targeted a lone woman.

READ MORE: Brave barrister and grandad 'fought with courage' before death

Disturbing cases included a paedophile who sexually abused children as they slept, a child rapist brought to justice three decades latter and a family who "hid a dark secret".

A judge also had to sentence father and son drug dealers who received threat to life warnings from police and took drastic action. Here is an overview of some of those which have concluded this past week.

Roy Neilson

Roy Neilson who downloaded more than 14,000 sick photos was caught with a manual detailing how to rape children.

He collected a trove of images on his laptop showing children as young as two being subjected to horrendous abuse. The 66-year-old's home in Fairmead Road, Moreton was raided by police on May 20 last year, when they seized a computer containing 14,670 indecent images, including 1,296 which fell into the most serious category, Category A, which shows children being raped and tortured.

Neilson admitted one count of possessing and three counts of downloading indecent images of children. He also pleaded guilty to possessing prohibited images of children, extreme pornography and and a paedophile manual.

He was jailed for 12 months.

Angela Boote

Angela Boote stole £255,000 from her employers and splurged it on holidays, jewellery and designer clothes.

The mum-of-two was a long term employee at insurance brokers Griffiths and Armour, but used her role managing some of the company's banking functions to take cash for herself. She sent payments intended for clients to numerous personal accounts, including those of one of her daughters and one she shared with her husband, though there was no suggestion they were involved in the scheme.

The 52-year-old had worked for her employers since 1994 and many of her colleagues regarded her as a trusted member of staff at the firm, whose clients ranged from charities to NHS trusts. She was rumbled after a client noticed a £224 refund had not been paid to their account while Boote was on leave in January 2020. Boote, of Lower Lane, Fazakerley, who has since repaid £84,000, admitted fraud.

Boote was jailed for three years and four months.

David Blackburn

David Blackburn who sexually abused two girls laughed and threatened them when they begged him to stop.

The 56-year-old preyed on the children from when they were aged just nine and seven-years-old. He was a teenage boy himself when he started molesting them. But he continued as an adult, even after he got married and had children of his own. One of the victims was raped by Blackburn, of Quarry Green, Northwood, Kirkby, more than 30 years ago.

Blackburn had denied any wrongdoing, but was found guilty after a harrowing trial. He was convicted of five counts of indecent assault and one count of indecency with a child in relation to his first victim, when she was aged between nine and 13. Blackburn was convicted of 15 counts of indecent assault, two counts of indecency with a child, and one count of rape, in respect of his second victim.

He was jailed for 19 years, with an extended one year on licence.

Richard Higginson

Richard Higginson smashed up betting shops before threatening to shoot police officers across the road from Alder Hey Children's Hospital.

He was tasered by police after a standoff outside Eaton Road police station earlier this year. He repeatedly told officers he might shoot someone, despite having no gun, shortly after smashing TV screens and betting machines in Betfred and William Hill shops nearby.

Higginson caused more than £20,000 of damage during his rampage across Knotty Ash. Having struggled with gambling in the past, he had managed to control his addiction but then relapsed and lost more than a thousand pounds at a bookmakers, prompting his drunken rampage on February 18.

Higginson, of Coronation Drive, Widnes, who had previous convictions, including for assault in 2011, admitted criminal damage and affray.

He was jailed for 12 months.

Jeff Knibb

Jeff Knibb, 47, from Huyton, admitted 12 counts of indecent assault and two counts of indecency with a child (Liverpool Echo)

Jeff Knibb sexually abused a sleeping boy one night in the early 2000s - the third child whose life he has ruined.

The victim, then aged just 14, lived with the impact of the abuse for nearly two decades, until he saw a report in the ECHO in September 2019 about Knibb being jailed for similar sexual offences. Knibb, 50, from Huyton, had been locked up for nine years for molesting two boys - one while he was sleeping - in the 1980s and 1990s.

Seeing Knibb's face in the ECHO made the victim physically sick - but our coverage also led to him making a formal complaint to the police. Knibb, most recently of Paynesholme, Paston, Peterborough, admitted one count of indecent assault, in respect of his third victim.

He was jailed for a further two and a half years.

Adam Kay

"Bullying and violent" Adam Kay sent his ex abusive messages and threw bricks through her windows.

He terrorised a woman who he had been in a relationship with, calling her a "fat s**t" and warning her "watch what happens next". Prosecutors said the 29-year-old also went round to her house, found a hammer and then used it to smash headlights on her car.

A judge labelled his behaviour spoilt and selfish, after hearing about his actions on November 21 last year, and a later attack on January 3. Kay, of Caldy Grove, St Helens, admitted harassment and criminal damage against the woman, who the ECHO chose not to name.

He was jailed for 22 months.

Paul Andrews

Paul Andrews (Liverpool Echo)

Career burglar Paul Andrews broke both ankles after jumping off a roof while trying to evade arrest.

Andrews, who also severely lacerated his right hand in his failed escape bid, was wanted for two brazen daylight burglaries in Woolton and Mossley Hill.0 The second on June 21 last year was witnessed by patients in a nearby doctor’s waiting room and when a GP bravely challenged him, Andrews, who was wearing a balaclava, threatened to stab him.

At the time he had been released under investigation for an unprovoked attack in a Wirral park, which left a 16-year-old boy with a dislocated shoulder, in Victoria Park, West Kirby, on June 4. Andrews and a companion had earlier been "hitting on" some teenage girls - before the boy and his friend intervened - and a judge described their behaviour as "rather pathetic".

Andrews, 31, of Colville Street, Wavertree, admitted assault, affray, burglary, attempted burglary and threatening behaviour.

He was jailed for four and a half years.

John Pitt

John Pitt, 39, of Leyland Road, Southport (Merseyside Police)

John Pitt subjected his partner to "abusive coercive behaviour" including spitting in her face after demanding cash for beer.

The 39-year-old, of Leyland Road, Southport, threatened to get his former partner assaulted by others and. Even after their four-month relationship ended, he would plague her with abusive texts and phone calls.

During their relationship he would tell what type of food to eat, where she could go and who she could see, whether she could go to work or not, call her insulting names and mock her weight. The woman, who the ECHO chose not to name, said after they split up she decided not to go through with a pregnancy, because the unborn child was his and "I knew if I kept the baby he would always have a connection with me".

Pitt, who admitted putting a person in fear of harassment, was jailed for two years and three months.

Christopher Kelly

Drug-addled Christopher Kelly set a 1,000 litre oil drum alight causing a fire that ravaged a famous Wirral butchers.

He was behind a "mindless" blaze which left Edge and Son Butchers with a £65,000 bill. The 36-year-old also risked the lives of people living above the historic shop, which has served customers since 1844.

They were potentially saved by two passing police officers, who smelled smoke in the air and went to investigate, in New Ferry, at around 11.25pm, on October 23, 2019. The duo saw flames coming from an alleyway between Edge and Son in New Ferry Road and BP Autos in Legh Road.

The officers called firefighters, who put the blaze out by 1am. CCTV footage captured Kelly at the scene.

Kelly, of New Chester Road, Rock Ferry, admitted arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered. He was jailed for four years and five months.

Danny Chen

Danny Chen kidnapped a teenager walking home after a night out and took her to an industrial estate intending to sexually assault her.

He would later claim he was just being "chivalrous" by helping a drunk 19-year-old into his white Audi at 3.30am. But when he drove the victim to a "dark and secluded" spot and tried to get in the back of the car with her, the victim's "survival instinct" kicked in.

She managed to escape and a judge said he was sure Chen had intended to carry out a sex attack. CCTV footage showed the woman, who the ECHO has chosen not to name, "staggering" as she walked home in Farnworth Street in Kensington on May 23, 2021.

After the attempted attack, Chen took her bank card and used it to buy crisps and a drink from a Texaco garage in Barlow Lane at around 5am. The card was declined when he tried to buy food from McDonald's in Walton Lane at approximately 5.30pm.

Chen, of Westminster Road, Walton, admitted two counts of fraud and was found guilty of kidnap after a trial.

He was jailed for three and a half years.

Robert Watkinson

Robert Watkinson convinced his friends, family and even his wife into investing £179,000 into bogus businesses and fake insurance schemes.

The 61-year-old claimed he was a successful businessman and promised high-value returns on the investments he sought. The slick conman had a flat in Southport and a cottage in the Ribble Valley, and flashed his wealth on the golf course and splashed his cash on expensive rounds in the village pub.

Despite his seemingly luxurious lifestyle, Watkinson was really a penniless gambling addict with no qualifications who was "robbing Peter to pay Paul" between 2015 and 2017. The Southport flat was rented and the Wiswell cottage was owned by his wife.

Without her knowledge, Watkinson forged her signature to secure three loans against her Ribble Valley home. He also convinced seven people to invest in his fake "businesses".

Watkinson, of Dickson Road, Blackpool, admitted three counts of fraud, totalling £110,000, and four counts of theft totalling £79,000.

He was jailed for three years.

Joshua Hendry

One of the UK's most wanted criminals, known as "the Big Guy", got a woman pregnant while on the run in Spain where he "lived the life of Riley".

Joshua Hendry led his mum and brother in a County Lines conspiracy which saw them traffic £1.3m of cocaine and heroin across the M62 from Liverpool to Grimsby. He later tried to evade justice by hiding in the Costa del Sol for three years, but was caught in January.

A judge slammed the "irresponsible" 31-year-old, from Walton, after it emerged he met a partner while on the run and she was now pregnant with his child. Joshua Hendry set up his criminal enterprise just after being released from Scotland for similar crimes in 2017.

He and his family operated an extensive trafficking scheme, with his mum, Leslie Aytoun, and brother, Scott Hendry, using a phone line to dictate to drug users where they should meet street dealers in Grimsby. The line would be used at either Aytoun's home in Liverpool, or Scott Hendry's home in Warrington.

Joshua Hendry spent three years in Spain but was caught after being spotted in San Pedro de Alcantára, just outside Marbella, on January 20 this year. He was then sent home to face justice.

For conspiring to supply Class A drugs and absconding he was jailed for 15 years and three months in total.

Ben Winstanley

Ben Winstanley, 39, of Chidlow Close, Widnes, had lost his job as an HGV driver. (Cheshire Police)

Ben Winstanley "outran" the police in a chase through Widnes as his Volkswagen Golf reached 130mph forcing officers to call off the pursuit.

An unmarked patrol spotted the white VW on Pitt Street "weaving in and out" of traffic towards the Mersey Gateway bridge on the morning of October 13. Behind the wheel was Winstanley, 39, who only a month prior had been stopped for drug driving, relating to cannabis, when a grinder had been found in his centre console.

The 11am pursuit ended when Winstanley ditched the car in Barrow's Green Lane. The HGV driver by trade, of Chidlow Close, Widnes, admitted dangerous driving.

He was jailed for 24 weeks.

Philip Boardman

A dad-of-two and former NHS worker raped a young boy when he himself was a teenager.

Married 45-year-old Philip Boardman has worked as a healthcare assistant in hospitals, as an ambulance technician, and as a courier for a medical firm. But in the early 1990s, when aged between 14 and 17, he destroyed the life of a "terrified" young boy, living in the St Helens area, then "hid a dark secret".

Boardman, of Winstanley Close, Great Sankey, Warrington, denied four counts of indecent assault, but was found guilty after a trial. Two of the counts would now be classed as sexual assault. They related to touching the boy's penis and making him touch his, on at least 10 occasions.

The court heard the two other counts would now be classed as rape. They related to two specific instances of the oral rape of the child.

He was jailed for four years.

Sam Walker

Samuel Walker, 38, of Beetham Plaza, Liverpool (Liverpool Echo)

Drug dealer Sam Walker was jailed again after being stopped on the motorway in a Maserati.

The 38-year-old was found to have three kilos of cannabis and £3,800 in fake bank notes when officers pulled the car over on the M56, near Runcorn, on Sunday, August 29, 2021. Walker, of Beetham Plaza in Liverpool city centre, admitted possessing cannabis with intent to supply, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.

However, he denied possessing counterfeit currency, claiming the money was used for playing poker with friends. He was found not guilty of that charge after a trial.

Walker was jailed for 15 months.

Paul Reid

A woman was left blind in one eye by a man she treated as a brother in a vicious attack.

Paul Reid's victim Gina Wignall has now spoken out about the ordeal and the devastating impact it has had on her life. She described Reid as having a "Jekyll and Hyde" personality, with a terrible temper.

Reid, 47, of Rectory Close, Birkenhead, hurled an ornament at his partner's sister, leaving her worrying about whether she would lose her eye, in an attack in Chorley.

Reid's former partner of 17 years, Jacquie O'Regan, 58, and her sister Gina, 52, spoke about the scary side of the "charming Irishman" who unleashed his brutal violence on Gina in July 2020, punching her, before striking her with a vase.

Reid, who admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm was jailed for 28 months.

Lancashire Police is yet to release his mugshot.

Andrew Cates

Andrew Cates forged the signature of his dementia-suffering mum to sell her home and splashed out on a Rolex, laptop and jewellery with the proceeds.

The 54-year-old sold his mum's three bedroom house in Berwick Avenue, Ainsdale at a cut price and spent £80,000 of the proceeds over just nine months, including buying himself luxury items. Cates rarely visited his elderly mother, now aged 75, and the fees for the care home, where she has now been for seven years, went unpaid.

Fortunately, the victim was said to be "mercifully blissfully unaware" of her conniving son's betrayal. Recorder Ian Harris, QC said: "This offence was cruel, selfish and calculated. It is the type of offending that runs roughshod over the rights of others.”

Cates, of Salford Road, Ainsdale, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation between November 1, 2018 and April 30, 2019.

He was jailed for two and a half years.

Brian Maxwell junior and Brian Maxwell senior

A father and son received threat to life warnings from police when threatened by rival gangsters.

Drug dealers Brian Maxwell, 54, and Brian Thomas Maxwell, 35, fell foul of a rival organised crime group who threatened violence. Prosecutors said a rival gang suspected Maxwell junior was involved in the theft of drugs that belonged to them.

In response to Osman warnings from Merseyside Police in May 27, 2020, Maxwell junior tried to buy weapons from criminal contacts to defend himself. He used EncroChat to try and source an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, an AK47, a Glock 17, a Grand Power pistol, a Walther PPK handgun and ammunition.

Brian Maxwell senior (Merseyside Police)

Maxwell jnr offered two Rolex watches to help pay for the guns and ammunition and said in other messages that he already had two guns. Maxwell snr, who used the EncroChat handle "RetiredVermouth", and his son, aka "MediumRose" and "DiorNote", were arrested in September 2021.

Maxwell snr, of Stockswell Road, Tarbock Green, and Maxwell jnr, of Ditchfield Road, Widnes, both admitted conspiring to supply cocaine, heroin, cannabis and amphetamine, and conspiring to produce cannabis. Maxwell jnr also admitted conspiring to possess, purchase or acquire prohibited firearms, and possessing prohibited firearms.

Maxwell junior was jailed for 18 years and four months, while Maxwell senior was jailed for 13 years and four months.

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