Couple jailed for dealing cocaine from Wigan home

 

A couple have been jailed for dealing cocaine from the home they shared in Wigan.

Stephen Matthew Downing, 55, and Claire Holmes, 31, both from Wigan, pleaded guilty to intent to supply cocaine and supplying cocaine at Liverpool Crown Court on Thursday 14 January 2016.

Downing also pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud and six counts of money laundering.

On Thursday 11 February 2016, Downing was jailed for five years and ordered to pay back £397,039.26p, after being found to have benefitted financially from his illegal activity.

He must pay the amount within the next three months or he will be jailed for a further four years and still have to pay the money back.

Holmes was jailed for two years and six months and ordered to pay back £5388.92p.

Like Downing, she must pay the amount back within three months or she will be jailed for a further three months and still have to pay the money back.

The investigation began in October 2012 when a warrant was executed on the house of Downing and Holmes. Officers discovered around 50 grams of cocaine, drug-dealing paraphernalia such as scales and snap bags and £24,198.80p in cash.

Despite the first warrant, subsequent warrants executed at the house in 2013, revealed that the couple continued their drug dealing. More cocaine was seized, around £45,000 in cash, debt lists detailing money owed to the pair for drugs and the dates at which deals had taken place.

It was later discovered that Downing’s financial practices helped him own seven houses, a strip of land and a business premises, all located in Wigan.

Upon arrest, the pair tried to blame the drug dealing on Stephen’s son, and he was charged as a result of this false testimony.

It was only when they changed their pleas to guilty in January 2016 that Stephen’s son was acquitted at Liverpool Crown Court.

Constable Peter Jackson said: “Downing and Holmes made their money by dealing drugs and Downing then tried to hide this by fraudulently purchasing and leasing out a string of properties which supplied him with rental income.

“Then, when they were caught with the drugs, they tried to blame Downing’s son.

“This is a perfect of example of the phrase ‘no honour amongst thieves’, as he was willing to throw his own flesh and blood to the police in order to help him and his girlfriend escape justice”.

TNT News

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