Jail for brothel owner who threatened to cut off woman's fingers
A man behind a brothel in a leafy Preston suburb has been jailed for eight and a half years following a sickening conspiracy to blackmail a vulnerable woman.
Sicarius McGrath, also known as Anthony Harrington, was found guilty of conspiracy to blackmail, following a two month trial at Preston Crown Court.
McGrath, 36, of Wince Close, Middleton, Manchester, admitted charges of possessing an offensive weapon, possessing Class A drugs and controlling prostitutes for financial gain whilst managing a brothel in Victoria Road, Fulwood.
He was also given a Serious Crime Prevention Order for five years and was disqualified from driving for two years upon his release from prison.
Co-defendant Suhail Patel, known as Solly, who used a phone in his prison cell at HMP Haverigg to conspire with McGrath to collect a debt from a woman in Preston, was jailed for seven years.
Patel, 34, of Blackpool Road, Ashton-On-Ribble, Preston, was serving a prison term for violent disorder involving a gun and passed the responsibility for collecting the debt to McGrath.
Defendant Paul Williams was sentenced to 18 months for assisting an offender, after making phone calls and supplying transport to McGrath, who had stabbed a man in self defence on Brixton Road in Preston in June 2015, and was given a two year driving ban.
Brett Gerrity, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West said: " McGrath and Patel aggressively pursued the woman leaving her terrified for her own and her family’s safety. Threats were made that her fingers would be cut off and the windows of her family home were smashed with bricks on three occasions.
"Patel was well aware that violence was to be the mechanism for this debt to be enforced . The victim has shown great bravery in coming forward and testifying against the two men enabling us to bring them to justice.
"Sicarius McGrath is a violent and manipulative man who was previously the subject of a gang injunction in Liverpool. He terrorised people ensuring that they lived in fear of him and willingly took on the debt of another man in order to exert power over a vulnerable woman.
“The Crown Prosecution Service and the police will continue to work together to ensure that those who aim to bring fear and misery to our communities are brought to justice."
Preston Crown Court heard when McGrath was arrested he was in possession of a CS gas canister and cocaine.
Police examined his phone and found evidence which proved he controlled prostitutes at the house he rented, including text messages agreeing prices with clients for the women’s sexual services.
He also set up a website for an escort service and sent out photographs to potential clients.
Detective Inspector Peter Danby from Lancashire Police said "This was a challenging and complex investigation undertaken by our Targeted Crime Unit and clearly demonstrates Lancashire Constabulary’s commitment to protecting our communities from organised crime. The sentences handed down to McGrath, Patel and Williams reflect the severity of the offending and send a clear message that it will not be tolerated in Lancashire
"Those involved in organised crime within our communities should expect that we will be pro-actively investigating their activities and working closely with the Crown Prosecution Service to bring them to justice
"A key role of the police service is protecting the most vulnerable and those living in our communities should not suffer in silence. I want to reassure them that they can come forward and speak in confidence regarding their concerns."
The authorities are hoping to seize back Patel and McGrath's ill gotten gains using Proceeds of Crime legislation.