Muggers jailed after Duchess of Cambridge's fashion designer robbed

Two muggers who stole £30,000 gold Rolex from Duchess of Cambridge’s fashion designer Amanda Wakeley during terrifying axepoint robbery are jailed for more than ten years

  • Amanda Wakeley was targeted by thieves on a moped in west London last year
  • They put an axe to her neck and put her in a headlock before grabbing the watch
  • Connor Murphy, 26, and Richard Walsh, 29, were jailed at Isleworth Crown Court 

Two men who targeted one of the Duchess of Cambridge’s favourite fashion designers in a terrifying axepoint robbery, in which her £30,000 watch was stolen, have been jailed for more than ten years. 

Amanda Wakeley, the British fashion designer who has supplied evening dresses to countless celebrities and royals, was mugged near Chelsea Harbour, west London on the morning of November 13 after two men approached on a moped. 

They let the tyres of her car down, stalling her, before holding an axe against her neck, putting her in a headlock and forcing her to the ground. 

British fashion designer Amanda Wakeley, pictured with her partner Hugh Morrison, was mugged of her watch by robbers on a moped


Connor Murphy, pictured left, and Richard Walsh, pictured right, were jailed for more than ten years at Isleworth Crown Court

While Ms Wakeley, 57, did not suffer any serious physical injury, the thieves took her Rolex Daytona, which has still not been recovered six months on, and fled the scene, as members of the public rushed to help her.

Ms Wakeley offered to hand over her watch to stop the attack, and had to unclip it as the thief was struggling to wrestle it from her wrist, according to the Evening Standard.

Judge Simon Davis described it as a ‘carefully planned and organised robbery’ with the ‘hallmarks of some professionalism’, the paper reports, with one member of the gang having researched the value of the jewellery online prior to the ambush. 

Connor Murphy, 26, of Salters Road, W10, was jailed for six years and nine months yesterday after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery at Isleworth Crown Court.

Richard Walsh, 29, of Ashburnham Road, Chelsea, was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison after admitting encouraging and assisting a robbery.

Mark Toth, 35, who has links to the Ladbroke Grove area of Kensington and Chelsea is still being hunted by police in connection with the incident. He should not be approached, officers warned.

The 57-year-old managed to get this photo of the robbers making off after the mugging

Her partner Hugh Morrison posted this message online after the incident in November

The thieves let the tyres of her car down, stalling her, before riding up and threatening her with an axe (pictured: Ms Wakeley’s Porsche)

At the time of the attack, her partner Hugh Morrison posted online: ‘Urgent, Amanda Wakeley was mugged this morning for her watch as she was getting into her car.

‘The moped assailants had earlier let down her tyres to make her stop to investigate and came up behind her, threatening her with an axe.

‘She is unhurt but naturally shocked.

‘The police have been amazing but say that this happens 5-6 times every day in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and have asked us to share this.

‘There are a lot of witnesses and the police feel that the culprits will be caught.

‘In the meantime, Amanda just wants to share her experience and hopes that everyone stays safe.’


The Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex are both big fans of Ms Wakeley’s designs and have repeatedly warn them to formal occasions 

Stand-up comic Michael McIntyre and Arsenal footballer Mesut Özil have also fallen victim to moped criminals in the last two years. 

Detective Sergeant Chris Taylor, said: ‘This was a terrifying robbery which happened on what was a normal morning. We quickly identified those involved, and this has resulted in two convictions.

‘However, there is one outstanding suspect and we are appealing for the public’s help to locate him.

‘We would like to thank the victim for her cooperation during the investigation, and acknowledge her courage and bravery.’ 

If you have any information regarding his whereabouts then please call 020 7321 7581, or 101 quoting CAD 1848/13Nov19.

The designer with no formal training who made her name with Princess Diana’s ‘powersuits’

Amanda Wakeley, pictured this summer

Amanda Wakeley was brought up in Chester, the daughter of a prominent surgeon, Sir John Wakeley.

She has never had any formal training, but from her earliest childhood she was raiding her dressing-up box and altering the contents.

At her boarding school, Cheltenham Ladies’ College, she made extra money by running up clothes for her friends, and her first job, at 16, was working in a designer menswear boutique in Chester.

She began her own design career with a made-to-order collection, which she ran up in her Chelsea studio: ‘There was no great financial backing, just a collection of samples,’ she later said.

Nevertheless, her elegant styles soon brought her to the attention of Princess Diana.

The princess’s patronage made Amanda’s name, and famously, when Diana resigned from public life in 1993, she did so wearing a bottle-green Wakeley suit.

Amanda’s future should have been assured; unfortunately, she had her own marital difficulties to contend with.

By 1998, her marriage to Australian property developer Neil Gillon had ended – but his involvement in her business had not.

Two years later he sold his majority stake to Richard Caring, with Amanda staying on as creative director.

After five years, in 2005, Caring in turn sold the brand on to Saudi billionaire Walid Juffali.

And in 2008, Juffali sold it to the former City trader Jason Granite. Less than a week later, Amanda resigned.


Princess Diana in Amanda Wakeley in 1993 and the Duchess of Cambridge in 2011

Fortunately, by this stage, Amanda had already fallen in love with Hugh Morrison, a strategic business advisor.

Amanda credits Hugh with the fact that just a month after she lost her eponymous business, a deal had been engineered for her to regain control.

By April 2009, Amanda was back in the driving seat as owner and creative director.

She had not looked back since, with stars such as Scarlett Johansson, Kate Winslet and Angelina Jolie having shimmered down the red carpet in Amanda’s liquid silks.

The Duchess of Cambridge and Queen Rania of Jordan have also worn her label for formal engagements and innumerable brides have chosen to wear Wakeley up the aisle.

More recently, she has changed direction somewhat from purveyor of evening-wear to luxury lifestyle brand and has begun to attract an edgier sort of customer, including Nicole Scherzinger and J-Lo, who wore head-to-toe Wakeley the 2015’s Golden Globes.

 Previously published in You Magazine.

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Dallas salon owner jailed for reopening during pandemic is ordered to be RELEASED after sentence sparked outrage – The Sun

THE Texas Supreme court has ordered the release of a salon owner who was jailed for keeping her store open during the coronavirus pandemic.

Just two days after being sentenced to seven days inside, the Supreme Court has demanded Shelley Luther’s release.

Luther's case sparked outrage from officials and anti-lockdown protesters in the state.

The owner of  Salon a la Mode was given a choice between paying a fine, offering up an apology for breaking the rules or serving jail time – and chose the latter.

Luther was booked in the Dallas County jail on Tuesday afternoon following a video hearing, during which she was found in contempt of court.

On Wednesday, Texas Attorney General Paxton issued a statement about the decision: "I find it outrageous and out of touch that during this national pandemic, a judge, in a county that actually released hardened criminals for fear of contracting COVID-19, would jail a mother for operating her hair salon in an attempt to put food on her family's table.

"The trial judge did not need to lock up Shelley Luther.

"His order is a shameful abuse of judicial discretion, which seems like another political stunt in Dallas.

"He should release Ms. Luther immediately."

Last month, Luther was issued a citation for keeping open her salon despite state and local directives that kept nonessential businesses closed.

In Tuesday’s hearing, Luther said she kept the salon open because she needed the money.

"I couldn’t feed my family, and my stylists couldn’t feed their families," Luther testified, saying she had applied for a federal loan but didn’t receive it until Sunday.

Dallas County Judge Eric Moye said during Tuesday’s hearing that he would consider levying a fine instead of jail time if Luther would apologize and not reopen until she was allowed to do so.

However, defiant Luther refused.

"Feeding my kids is not selfish," she told Moye.

"If you think the law is more important than kids getting fed, then please go ahead with your decision, but I am not going to shut the salon."

Moye wrote in his judgement of contempt: "The defiance of the court’s order was open, flagrant and intentional."

He noted that despite being given the opportunity to apologize Luther has "expressed no contrition, remorse or regret" for her actions.

Luther was sentenced to spend seven days in jail and pay a $7,000 fine, Fox News reported.

The hearing occurred as Texas Governor Greg Abbott relaxed more restrictions statewide, allowing barbershops and hair salons to reopen Friday.

Over the past few weeks, Texas residents have been protesting against the lockdown restrictions in place in the state.

Last month two armed men were seen in a shopping center and said they were "protecting the constitutional rights of businesses wanting to open."

The open carry advocates were spotted in a parking lot in Spring Creek Village, Dallas, where they carried large rifles and wore vests and facemasks.


The coronavirus death toll in Texas is currently 954.

However, the country as a whole has seen at least 72,222 deaths.

America has over one million confirmed cases of the virus.

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Bungling robber, 40, jailed after being punched to ground by Britain’s hardest granddad, 77, at cashpoint – The Sun

A BUNGLING robber has been jailed today after Britain’s hardest granddad punched him to the ground.

Michael Collins, 40 tried to rob 77-year-old retired bus driver Trevor Weston at a supermarket cash machine.



But the hapless wannabe thief got more than he bargained for when the pensioner put up his fists to say: "Do you want some of this, pal?"

Prosecutor Tim Evans told how Collins was seen on CCTV confronting Trevor using a cash machine at Sainsbury's in Roath, Cardiff, at 6am.

Mr Evans said Collins shouted: "Give me your money and card or I'll stab you."

He said: "To deliberately target an obviously elderly gentleman alone at twilight is not only an aggravating feature but is also plainly a cowardly attack.

This particular coward picked on the wrong man. He wanted the victim’s cash. Instead he got a left hook."

CCTV shows instead of handing over the cash, Trevor put up his fists and saw his attacker off.

Before the case, Trevor, of Tremorfa, Cardiff, said: "I got out my £20 and had just put my wallet back in my pocket when this bloke came from nowhere.

"When he demanded I hand over my money, I replied: 'You what? Do you want some of this, pal?' And I put up my guard."

Trevor said he could only punch left handed after previously suffering a broken shoulder in a fall at home but said he managed to catch Collins on the jaw.

Do you want some of this, pal?

Trevor said: "I cracked him a couple of times and he looked stunned, like he couldn't believe what I was doing.

"And, to be honest, neither could I."

Trevor later made a Victim Personal Statement saying: “I went home. I sat down and ate breakfast. I was watching the TV and it suddenly dawned on me of what could have happened.

"I was very shaky. I think I was shocked. Looking back at this time I am thankful that nothing worse happened."

Police studied the CCTV and an officer recognised Collins – but he denied it when he was arrested.

Cardiff Crown Court heard he has 57 convictions for 156 offences including shoplifting and obtaining property by deception.

Collins, of Tremorfa, Cardiff, admitted attempted robbery in February and was jailed for three years and six months.

Judge Richard Williams said the victim chose to defend himself despite his age.

He said: "He did so with courage, determination and he was entirely successful."

"You chose someone who you presumed wrongly to be vulnerable."

Trevor said he had never been a fighter before the attempted robbery.

"I've never had a fight in my life, even when I was dealing with troublemakers on the buses years ago," he said.

"If anyone got on who was drunk, aggressive and refusing to pay, I'd go, 'just go and sit down, mate' – it wasn't worth the hassle."





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Spoilers: Gary jailed in Corrie as Adam discovers the truth about Rick's murder?

Adam Barlow (Sam Robertson) has long been suspicious about the extent of Gary Windass’ (Mikey North) villainy in Coronation Street, and — upon returning from his honeymoon — he seemingly begins his investigation into the dodgy builder once more, but will he discover the truth?

Knowing there’s more to him than meets the eye, Adam has been determined to expose Gary’s true nature to all the residents of Weatherfield, but thus far he’s been unable to do so.

Prior to departing for his honeymoon, he discovered via Carla (Alison King) that Ali (James Burrows) had slept with Maria (Samia Longchambon), and therefore he informed Gary in an effort to ruin his happiness.

In the coming episodes, Adam returns to the cobbles with Sarah (Tina O’Brien), and before long he finds himself consumed in all-things Gary once more.

With Kelly (Millie Gibson) having found herself public enemy number one since leaking Asha’s (Tanisha Gorey) video online, Dev (Jimmi Harkishin) publicly blames her in upcoming scenes — something which results in Gary leaping to her defence.

However, Adam witnesses this confrontation, and his interest is piqued as a result.

With Adam no doubt wondering why Gary’s so interested in protecting Kelly, he’ll likely continue to investigating — but the question is: will he discover the truth?

https://youtube.com/watch?v=sVFQ8TEbAtc%3Fversion%3D3%26rel%3D1%26fs%3D1%26autohide%3D2%26showsearch%3D0%26showinfo%3D1%26iv_load_policy%3D1%26wmode%3Dtransparent

Will his investigation result in him discovering Kelly’s identity? If so, it could only be matter of time before he discovers that Rick is dead.

If he does so, will he finally be able to get the builder-turned-loan-shark-turned-furniture-dealer arrested and put behind bars?

One to watch: Wednesday 6 May at 7:30pm on ITV.

If you’ve got a soap or TV story, video or pictures get in touch by emailing us [email protected] – we’d love to hear from you.

Join the community by leaving a comment below and stay updated on all things soaps at our homepage.

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Australian man jailed for breaking quarantine to visit girlfriend

An Australian man has been arrested after repeatedly sneaking out of a Perth hotel room to visit his girlfriend while under mandated quarantine, a report said.

Jonathan David, 35, pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to comply with a direction in a Perth court on Wednesday after a judge called him “breathtakingly arrogant,” according to Perth Now.

David was told to quarantine at a Travelodge Hotel for 14 days. Instead, he snuck out of the building and hopped on a train on April 4 and 5, Perth’s WAToday reported.

He allegedly left the building on multiple occasions to visit his girlfriend and buy food.

Cops said that David even wedged open a fire exit door with a napkin so he could leave and return without staff seeing him.

A prosecutor described the act as “gross stupidity” and a magistrate said David had been “more than foolish” and was “selfish in the extreme.”

“You chose to roll the dice with other people’s lives and that was breathtakingly arrogant,” the magistrate said.

David was sentenced to one month in jail and fined about $1,300.

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Fourth man jailed for coronavirus-related assault on an officer

Drunk man, 26, is jailed for 12 weeks for breathing heavily in face of arresting police officer and claiming he had coronavirus

  • A man was jailed for saying he had coronavirus and breathing in an officer’s face
  • Russell Fletcher, 26, from Doncaster was arrested in Thorne on Sunday April 5
  • People reported him for being drunk and causing a disturbance after midnight
  • He is the fourth person to be jailed for a coronavirus-related assault on an officer 

A man has been jailed for 12 weeks and fined £250 for telling a police officer he had coronavirus and then breathing in the officer’s face. 

People reported Russell Fletcher, 26, from Doncaster, for being drunk and causing a disturbance on Oldfield Road in Thorne on after midnight on Sunday April 5.  

When Russell was being transported to custody he told the officer he had coronavirus and then ‘breathed heavily’ in the officer’s face. 

Russel was charged on Monday April 6 at Doncaster Magistrates’ Court with common assault of an emergency worker, attempted criminal damage to property and being drunk and disorderly in a public place. 

Russell Fletcher was jailed for saying he had coronavirus and then ‘breathing heavily’ in a police officer’s face after he was arrested in Thorne for being drunk and causing a disturbance after midnight

Doncaster’s Chief Inspector, Sharon Hancock, said: ‘Over the last weeks our officers have made incredible personal sacrifices to ensure they can continue to protect the public they serve.’ 

Russel is the forth person to be arrested and jailed for a coronavirus-related assault on a police officer.   

Hancock said the majority of the public have been supportive and that the police force really appreciate it.  

‘My message to those who think that they can use this current crisis to intimidate my officers is this – your behaviour will not be tolerated and you will feel the full force of the law,’ said Hancock.  

Russell was sentenced to 12 weeks and fined £250 at Doncaster Court (pictured) common assault of an emergency worker, attempted criminal damage to property and being drunk and disorderly in a public place

 

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Man, 34, jailed after stealing surgical masks from a London hospital

Covid chancers steal vital PPE: Man, 34, is jailed for three months after stealing surgical masks from a London hospital while a GP surgery risks closing down after thieves steal its only box of protective equipment

  • Lerun Hussain was caught stealing by security staff at Kings College Hospital
  • It is the latest of a growing number of incidents of coronavirus-related crime 
  • Church Street Surgery, Kidderminster, appeals for thieves to return crucial items

Lerun Hussain, pictured, pleaded guilty at Croydon Magistrates’ Court yesterday and was sentenced to three months in prison

A thief caught stealing surgical masks from a busy hospital struggling to treat coronavirus patients has been jailed in the latest incident of Covid-19-related crime. 

Police were called to Kings College Hospital in Lambeth, south London, on Sunday morning where Lerun Hussain had been detained by security staff.

The 34-year-old, of Worsopp Drive, Clapham, who was also in breach of a court order, had taken three masks and was arrested and charged with theft.

He appeared at Croydon Magistrates’ Court yesterday where he pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to three months in prison the same day. 

It comes after a string of other offences across the country, where criminals have targeted crucial supplies in the fight against the virus.

A doctors’ surgery in Worcestershire also had face masks stolen yesterday and urged the thieves to return the items, saying they were necessary to keep the practice open.  

Since a social media appeal, Church Street Surgery, Kidderminster, said it had received a number of individual face mask donations which meant it could still continue to offer services.

The box of protective equipment had been donated by a local dental practice the day before.

West Mercia Police said they were aware of a reported theft and would be visiting the surgery on Wednesday.

The equipment was stolen from London’s Kings College Hospital, pictured, on Sunday

After the face masks were stolen, the Church Street Surgery said in a Facebook post: ‘Could the person who has stolen the only box of masks that we have in the building that were kindly donated by a local dental practice yesterday afternoon please return them to the practice.

‘We need to protect our staff to enable us to remain open.’

The surgery then thanked people for their support after a number of face masks were donated following the theft.

In a separate post, the surgery said: ‘We are totally humbled by the kindness and generosity we have received today in light of the post we made this morning regarding our stolen masks.

‘The messages of support have been overwhelming and we have received extremely generous donations of masks from individuals which now means we have enough to keep our staff safe until our official supplies arrive.

‘From each and everyone of us at the practice we thank you for your generosity and your continued support during this extremely difficult and challenging time.’

Inspector Dave King, of the Kidderminster Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: ‘My team is aware of the reported theft of face masks from the Church Street surgery in Kidderminster and while not officially reported to us yet, we will be visiting the staff today.

Face masks, pictured, and other important medical equipment have been targeted by thieves during the coronavirus crisis

‘In these challenging and difficult times, the theft of vital medical equipment is going to add further strain and demand to the health service and the people looking after our welfare.

‘While a crime like this is naturally going to upset and concern many in our community who see NHS staff risking their lives every day, the vast majority of people are doing all they can to support each other however they can.’

Elsewhere, an ambulance service said it has received two reports of staff being approached for their personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and hand gel in a ‘way they felt intimidating’.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust described the cases as ‘isolated’.

A criminal broke into a patient transport vehicle (pictured, its shattered window) – which had a sign saying it was being used by the health service to move patients to hospitals – in Kirkby, Merseyside last week

It said it has reiterated its existing uniform policy to staff, which states that employees should not wear uniform while off-duty except when representing the service in an official capacity.

Staff are advised to cover up with a jacket if they travel to and from work in uniform.

‘This has been historically to protect staff and their vehicles from being targeted by thieves looking for medical supplies,’ the trust said in a statement. 

‘Recently, we have had reports of two isolated cases of staff being approached for their personal protection equipment (masks/hand gel etc) in a way they felt intimidating.

‘We would like to reiterate however, that the vast majority of reaction our staff receive when wearing their uniform in public while on duty is very supportive.’

In Kirby, Merseyside, last week, a ruthless thug smashed their way into a patient transport vehicle and stole vital protective equipment, while in the capital, Mark Manley, 35, was jailed for six months for a raid on an ambulance, having stolen items including masks, paper suits and hand gel.

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Chemsex masseuse jailed for six years on drugs charges

Masseuse, 38, who sold ‘extreme’ bondage chemsex customers meth and date-rape drug GHB from his apartment is jailed for six years

  • Flavien Cortes made at least £30,000 while working as a masseuse from his flat
  • Police found a huge stash of class A drugs which were advertised to punters 
  • Mr Cortes charged customers for ‘extras’ including bondage and restraint

A masseuse who ran a Soho sex den has been jailed for six years on charges relating to the supply of drugs and possessing stun guns and false passports, police said.

Flavien Cortes, 38, was found to have supplied large amounts of drugs while offering bondage-themed sexual services to men from his Wardour Street apartment.

Police told Southwark Crown Court a search of the flat in January uncovered 40 bottles of gamma butyrolactone (GBL), several Tasers, a number of false passports and a variety of class A, B and C drugs – as well as £30,000 in cash.

Metropolitan Police undated handout photo of masseuse Flavien Cortes who ran a Soho sex den has been jailed for six years at Southwark Crown Court on charges relating to the supply of drugs and possessing stun guns and false passports, police said

A Metropolitan police handout photo shows a pile of methamphetamine taken from the Cortes’ freezer at his Soho sex den 

A police photograph shows a draw full of miscellaneous drugs at Cortes’ sex den in Soho

Cortes pleaded guilty prior to sentencing via videolink from prison to 19 charges.

Fourteen charges related to possession and intent to supply class A, B and C drugs.

He was also charged with one count of possessing a disguised firearm, one count of possessing a prohibited firearm, one count of possessing criminal property, and two counts of possession of an identity document with improper intention.

Police told the court officers had found the two Taser-style firearms disguised as a cattle prod and a torch, as well as passports in different names.

Officers also discovered a room in the flat designed for sexual activity, with equipment used to record and share activity online. 

Among the items seized from Cortes’ Soho sex den was a taser (pictured). Cortes was caged for six years at Southwark Crown Court today on charges relating to the supply of drugs and possessing stun guns and false passports, police said

Pictured: Another torch-shaped taser found at Cortes’ chemsex den in Soho, London 

Among the items seized were several wads of cash like the one pictured above. Cortes, 38, was found to have supplied large amounts of drugs while offering bondage-themed sexual services to men from his Wardour Street apartment

Cortes was sentenced to six years and eight months in prison.    

Police found a huge stash of class A drugs which were advertised to punters for use in the meth-fuelled orgies when they searched the property on 15 January.

Officers also uncovered two stun guns disguised as torches, a wad of cash and two passports belonging to other men.

The French national moved to the UK aged 18 and built a career in hospitality working for members club Balans Soho Society and as a manager at a London branch of the Hilton Hotel. 

Cortes charged customers up to £1,500 for extra services while operating a massage parlour out of his Soho flat.

He amassed a pharmacy of class A drugs including cocaine, crystal meth, MDMA and popular chemsex drug GBL which he sold to punters.

Gregor McKinley, prosecuting, said officers were surveilling the premises when a client left with a packet of crystals and admitted he had bought them from Cortes.

Officers entered to find cameras connected to two iPads monitoring activity inside and outside the flat along with a desk strewn with drug paraphernalia.

The French national appeared at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday via video-link from HMP Wandsworth and admitted 19 offences.

Flavien Cortes, 38, (pictured) made at least £30,000 from his ‘life of hedonism’ while working as a masseuse from his flat in Soho between 2018 and January this year

Mr McKinley said: ‘At about 7.30pm the police who were keeping watch on defendant’s address and saw a man leaving in possession of a small bag of white crystals.

‘When he was stopped by officers he admitted straightforwardly that he’d been to that address earlier in the day that the crystals were crystal meth and that he’d bought them from Mr Cortes for £50.

‘He said he’d been buying drugs from him since 2018.

‘Police entered and searched the premises and large quantities of different kinds of drug were found.

‘The weight of the crystal meth was just over 156g. The total amount of cocaine was about 60g.

‘There was a desk in the middle of the flat and that’s where the two tasers were found very close to where he was working and making other supplies of drugs.

‘There was also a rudimentary security system in place there were cameras outside the address linked up to two iPads.

‘There were also several consignments of vacuum packed money.

‘These were notes and a quick estimation by the officers was about £30,000. Also found were the false documents and a number of credit and debit cards in different names.

‘Cortes was arrested there and then.

‘More controversially, the police found a clipboard which they say looks to them like a rota with names and times and it’s the police suspicion that these are people who may be working for or with Mr Cortes.

Cortes was working from his flat in Soho’s Richmond Mews (pictured) in central London 

‘They say they were undertaking cleaning and maintenance jobs for Mr Cortes rather than any form of drug dealing.

‘Mr Cortes was arrested and interviewed the following day. He gave a no comment interview and indicated not guilty pleas at the magistrates’ court.

‘Given the sophistication of the operation the crown say the starting point should be at the upper end (of sentencing).’

Nick Corsellis, QC, defending, said the flat had been hooked up with CCTV for Cortes’ own protection and the tasers were kept to ward off potential attacks from customers.

‘He comes from France and has a conservative background, family, who when he told them aged 18 that he was gay was met with disapproval.

‘It led to him starting his life again here in London. He was a committed member of the leisure industry starting off as a waiter, then a barman and indeed achieving the levels of responsibility to becoming a manager of the Hilton Hotel.

‘Unfortunately in late 2016 he contracted pneumonia.

‘This led to a six-month period of incapacitation, multiple admissions to hospital and intensive care which culminated in the loss of function in his right lung to a very significant degree and it is irrevocable there for his respiratory ability is very much reduced.

‘When he was fit enough he was not able to return to his occupation as a waiter because he wasn’t able to stand for long periods of time, carry a tray.

Cortes, a former Hilton Hotel manager was jailed on Tuesday for more than six years

‘In order to change his work he took up a massage business. You will see a variety of tax returns relating to his business in 2017 and 2018 whereby his success as a masseur was in the region of £1,500 a time.

‘What happened were his clientele were predominantly gay men and the massage business then evolved into the offer of sexual services.

‘The particular evolution of that meant that as you will have seen from the photographs in this case that it ended up with Mr Cortes offering a service which was particularly extreme in terms of bondage and restraint and so on.

‘The photographs rather tell it all with respect to what was in the flat. Part of that service was the provision of drugs to the clientele.

‘This was to consenting adults who wished to partake in them together with the sexual services that Mr Cortes was offering.

‘It’s also a fact that as you will have appreciated that there was CCTV within the premises as well as outside. That’s to protect himself.

‘The rota was for cleaners. His occupation meant that others needed to assist him and the cleanliness was an important factor to how his sexual services business was running.

‘This was a case where there was no delegation to other people or dealing on the street. His business was one to two people a day.

‘There was no method of advertising – it was only on recommendation through word of mouth in a fairly extreme section of the gay community.’

Mr Corsellis said at one point Cortes had been earning so much that Metro bank refused to deposit his money as the deposits were deemed suspicious.

‘The money that was found near his desk but also in the safe.

‘His bank account was terminated because of the levels of cash he was depositing. The Metro bank decided he was not someone it wanted to be their customer. He had nowhere to deposit his cash.

‘The cash that was seized gives an indication as to the level of his business, we accept, but also over the previous months or so.

‘The second taser was in fact not operational. The tasers have never been used, they were there for his potential protection.

‘May I ask that the court shows some leniency towards him given the rather exceptional circumstances of this case.’

Judge Alexander Milne told Cortes: ‘You are in a position of perhaps more responsibility than a street dealer. This falls towards the top end of significant involvement.

‘The total will be six years and eight months imprisonment.

‘You are a man with little criminal activity in the past. Though you were vulnerable, to some degree that is a vulnerability of your own making.

‘In relation to the £30,000 I order that to be forfeited and the drugs and tasers to be destroyed.’

Cortes, of Soho, admitted five counts of possession of class A drugs with intent to supply, five counts of possession of class B drugs with intent to supply, four counts of possession of class C drugs with intent to supply, two counts of possessing an identity document without proper intention, possession of a disguised firearm, possession of a prohibited weapon and possession of criminal property.

He was sentenced to six years and eight months imprisonment.

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