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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Emily Pennink

Winking witness ‘Del Boy’ faces justice over jury nobbling

PA Media

A winking witness nicknamed Del Boy has been extradited from Spain to face justice over a jury nobbling plot.

Laurence Hayden, 54, appeared at the Old Bailey on Thursday after being brought back to the UK over a bungled scheme to tamper with a drug kingpin’s trial in 2018.

He was one of a team of stooges recruited by Leslie Allen, 66, to help him get off charges of having £150,000 of cannabis and cocaine, and pepper spray.

Hayden was one of two witnesses who agreed to lie for Allen in the witness box at his trial, it was alleged.

But Hayden, from Coventry, appeared to give the game away by nodding and winking at one of the jurors who was also in on the plot.

The conspiracy was said to have “failed spectacularly” after other jurors in the Warwick Crown Court case became suspicious as they deliberated on verdicts.

The judge in the drugs trial went on to convict Allen without the jury and jail him for 13 years.

After a trial at the Old Bailey in January, Allen was convicted of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice along with the other plotters and Hayden, who was absent throughout.

Following his extradition, Hayden appeared sunburnt as he was brought into the dock of the Old Bailey.

Judge Mark Lucraft KC adjourned sentencing to June 23 and remanded Hayden into custody.

Asked if there would be any bid for bail, Hayden’s lawyer Alex Dunn replied: “My Lord, not a chance.”

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