Drug Baron's Wife Loses Fight To Keep Matrimonial Home In Sutton-In-Ashfield

Drug Baron's Wife Loses Fight To Keep Home

The wife of a jailed drugs baron who "turned a blind eye" to his activities has failed in a High Court bid to stop the matrimonial home being sold to meet a "proceeds of crime" confiscation order.

Helen Dawes said she did not know husband John was involved in multimillion-pound drug trafficking and money laundering activities and "tainted" cash had paid for the house.

Mrs Dawes asserted she had a 50% share in "Copperfields", the family home in Tudor Street, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire. She argued she should not lose the property as she was wholly innocent of any wrongdoing.

She told a judge at London's High Court that her role as wife was "to look after the house, look after our son and do the cooking" while her husband managed the family's finances.

But Mr Justice Collins declared: "Mrs Dawes turned a blind eye to what was going on, not because she necessarily did not want to know, but because she took the view that her part was merely to run the home, look after her child and provide for her husband."

The problem was she and her husband were in possession of a significant number of bank accounts, two of them set up in her sole name, through which passed significant sums of cash. In addition she had access to a number of credit cards.

The amounts of money involved were far in excess of what the couple legitimately earned.

The judge said: "It seems to me she has been shutting her eyes to what should have been obvious."

Dawes, who was convicted with three others, was estimated to have made nearly £8.3 million from supplying heroin and amphetamines between 1997-2003 before being jailed at Nottingham Crown Court in 2005 for 24 years.

The judge said to suggest the wife thought the money for the house, valued at £177,486, had come from legitimate sources, including her husband's activities as a builder, "is simply asking the court to believe too much.

"In those circumstances I am satisfied it is not disproportionate to require Copperfields to be sold."

The judge said losing the house would not mean Mrs Dawes being turned out on to the street with nowhere else to go.

Since February, she had been living with her sick, 85-year-old father and taking care of him at his home.

Her son, who was in full-time education, still lived at Copperfields.

The judge said: "So far as the son is concerned, he is now over 18 and there is no reason why he should not find somewhere to live for himself."

The judge allowed an application by the Crown Prosecution Service proceeds of crime unit for the appointment of an enforcement receiver to realise Dawes' assets, including the matrimonial home.

Dawes lost his appeal against his conviction and sentence in 2007, but the court heard he still maintains he is not guilty.

Confiscation proceedings were started against him under the Drug Trafficking Act 1994.

He was estimated to have earned £8,283,161 from drug crime and he was ordered at Woolwich Crown Court in September 2008 to pay back £355,000, which represented all his available realisable assets.

He was required to pay up within 10 months or face a further three-and-a-half years in jail, though the additional penalty has not yet been imposed.

So far he has paid off over £20,000 in the form of seized cash, an endowment policy and insurance policies.

The Crown Prosecution Service argued it was now necessary to appoint an enforcement receiver as Dawes was arguing "third party interests" were preventing him from realising other assets, among them Copperfields, another house and a caravan.


What's Hot