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The 70 Devon criminals we’ve seen jailed in the first half of 2023 | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing


The first six months of the year has seen some big sentences handed down at court. Those locked up include dangerous paedophiles, life-taking drivers, drug dealers and killers.

Some won’t see freedom for many years while others may already have served the prison element of their sentence and be out on licence.

Here DevonLive looks at the criminals locked up during the first six months of 2023.

JANUARY

Gary Chivers from Dawlish has been jailed in Exeter(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A perverted pensioner masqueraded as a teenager online while trying to communicate with children. Gary Chivers from Dawlish used chat platforms to strike up conversations with what he thought were girls aged as young as 10.

The 71-year-old told the ‘girls’ he was 15 and tried to persuade them to send him sexual pictures. It turned out he was actually speaking to a paedophile hunter group who arrived at his address and called police.

Chivers has a history of committing similar offences and was subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order at the time. A judge branded him a danger to children and sent him back to jail for five and a half years with an extended licence period of 18 months.

He pestered them for videos, tried to call the ‘girls” and told them he was a teenager or in his twenties.

READ MORE

James Freestone has been jailed for domestic violence(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A jealous boyfriend subjected his partner to a vicious beating during a drunken rage outside McDonald’s in Newton Abbot. James Freestone grabbed, punched and kicked the woman before taking her phone and stealing her bank card to withdraw £100.

The brutal assault and theft left the woman battered, bruised and cut to her face and body. After the incident Freestone sent the woman a series of nasty and threatening messages, despite being banned from contacting her by a court order.

The 30-year-old, of Ashfield Road in Torquay, was sentenced for assault causing actual bodily harm, battery, theft and three breaches of a restraining order.

He put his arm around the woman’s neck from behind and squeezed hard to the point she was struggling to breathe.

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Levi Hackett has been jailed for GBH with intent in Totnes(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A 23-year-old man has been jailed for slamming a paving slab onto the head of a rough sleeper in a sickening attack in Totnes. Levi Hackett was seen on town centre CCTV raising the 12inch long block above his head in both hands and bringing it down with force on his victim.

Benjamin Martin was sat on the ground outside the Happy Apple food store when he was attacked and did not see Hackett approaching. He suffered a fractured skull and was told by doctors that the impact had been like ‘somebody cracking a coconut’.

Hackett said he was motivated by revenge after his girlfriend’s flat was ransacked. He did not know Mr Martin but said he had once dated his partner.

After smashing the slab on the head of his victim Hackett jogged from the scene and was arrested hiding in his mother’s attic in Manchester.

READ MORE

Exeter Law Courts (Google)

Two boasting mechanics were jailed for causing the death of a young motorcyclist while ‘speeding in tandem’ on a road near Crediton. Ashley Mace and Martin Rogers hit speeds approaching 100mph moments before Mace lost control on a bend and killed 22-year-old Daniel Adametz (pictured), from Exeter.

The workmates were known to banter about how powerful their cars were and were ‘overly confident and boastful about their driving abilities, a court heard.

Mr Adametz died instantly when hit head-on by Mace on the A377 at Hookway Cross on May 7, 2020. His family were at Exeter Crown Court on Friday [January 13] to see both men jailed for their parts in the fatal crash.

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Kareem Edwards-Lowton has been jailed for drug offences in Devon(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A drug supplier from London has been jailed – more than four years after he was arrested in a car near Axminster. Kareem Edwards-Lowton, also known as Delroy Edwards, 31, was convicted by a jury of two offences of being concerned in making and offer to supply heroin and cocaine.

He was stopped in a hired Mercedes on the A35 in East Devon in November 2018 and linked to a drug supply gang bringing heroin and cocaine from the capital to the streets of Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Essex.

Two phones found in the car showed messages advertising drug supply. Edwards-Lowton, who has no previous drug convictions, denied he was responsible for the messages but the jury found him guilty. The defendant, of Verdant Lane, Lewisham, has been jailed for three years

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Anthony Moncrieff has been jailed for possessing indecent pictures(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A paedophile from Sidmouth was locked up for possessing indecent images of children. Anthony Moncrieff was given an extended sentence at Exeter Crown Court due to the danger he poses of committing more offences.

The 43-year-old had possession of more than 300 images, with 58 depicting the most serious kind of child abuse. He admitted three possession offences and was jailed for four years and two months with an extra five years to be served on extended licence when he is released.

Judge Stephen Climie said Moncrieff has an ‘enthusiasm for paedophile activity online’. The defendant also breached the terms of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order made after a conviction in 2015 for sexual offences.

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Avni Boufi and Bekim Prengzaj

Two men have been jailed after police raided a house in Exeter and found it had been converted into a cannabis growing factory. When officers went to the property in Cowick Lane they discovered multiple rooms on three floors devoted to a sophisticated drug cultivation operation.

The only rooms that did not contain cannabis had large TVs and living facilities for people to stay. Bekim Prengzaj and Avni Boufi were arrested at the scene.

An investigation revealed the pair had made multiple trips by car from Birmingham to Exeter in the period leading up to their arrest. The men said they got involved after being unable to find legal employment in the UK.

READ MORE

Graham Parkinson has been jailed for indecent images(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

Police arrested a paedophile pensioner at his home and found camera footage of a child getting changed at the seaside. Churchgoer Graham Parkinson, aged 71, said he could not remember taking any pictures but admitted being addicted to searching the internet for child sex abuse material.

Police discovered almost 1,500 sickening images and videos on his laptop and phone. Parkinson used the devices to seek out the images online, many depicted the most serious and cruel abuse of babies and young children.

They also found a film of a family with two children unknowingly being watched on Seaton beach. Parkinson, of Lower North Street, Exeter, has been jailed for 20 months at Exeter Crown Court.

The judge said he had a history of similar offending and, despite having had help in the past to deal with his compulsion, had ‘reverted’ back to his old way.

READ MORE

Sherwell Valley Road in Torquay(Image: Google Street View)

A dangerous driver previously shown mercy by the court has been jailed for failing to work with probation. Mathew Scott did not attend one appointment because he could not find anyone to look after his dog.

He was sent on a Thinking Skills course with 70 hours of unpaid work after a conviction in 2021. The defendant, now aged 25, returned to court on Monday [January 23] to be sentenced for breaching the order.

He was jailed for six months. Exeter Crown Court was told Scott had breached the order three times by failing to attend the majority of his appointments.

READ MORE

Vladimir Stratan has been jailed for causing a death on the road(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A delivery driver with no driving licence killed a devoted father by ploughing into his motorcycle on a rural road in Devon. Vladimir Stratan was driving a DPD Ford Transit when he failed to stop at a junction near Holsworthy.

Mark Colwill was on his way to a biker’s meet when Stratan hit his vehicle and sent the rider into a ditch. He died of his injuries after being airlifted to hospital.

Stratan remained at the scene and told witnesses he was praying for the injured man. But he gave police a false name and claimed he had a full UK driving licence.

The family of Mr Colwill were at Exeter Crown Court to see Stratan sentenced for causing death by careless driving. They paid emotional tributes to their much-loved late father, husband and grandad who they described as the ‘rock’ of the family.

READ MORE

Chad Brading, Benjamin Parry and Thomas Pawley – all found guilty of manslaughter of David Crawford(Image: Devon and Cornwall Police)

These three men were jailed after being found guilty of killing a member of a rival motorcycle chapter.

Benjamin Parry, aged 42 and Chad Brading, aged 36, both from Plymouth, along with Thomas Pawley, aged 32 from Ivybridge, were found guilty of manslaughter following the death of 59-year-old David Crawford, also from Ivybridge who was killed following a collision on the A38 earlier in 2022.

During the trial in November the jury was shown footage of Crawford riding his black 2,000cc Kawasaki motorbike on the evening of 12 May, when it was stopped by Pawley and Brading in Pawley’s black Mercedes car on the St Budeaux A38 on-slip.

READ MORE

Exeter Law Courts (Google)

A mechanic was jailed for a campaign of sexual abuse on three boys in the 1990s. David Hargreaves was living and working in Exeter at the time he groomed his teenage victims, a court heard.

Hargreaves, 61, denied the charges but was found guilty of multiple sex offences following a trial. He was given a 23-year sentence of which to serve a minimum of 14 years in prison.

The court heard how Hargreaves had befriended and groomed three boys in the 1990s. The abuse of which began when the boys were between 12 and 15 years old. Hargreaves would often buy the boys’ gifts and give them money while all the while indecently assaulting them repeatedly.

READ MORE

Robert Matei and Marian Stoica

A gang of criminals stole trolley-loads of booze worth nearly £50,000 during sophisticated raids at supermarkets across Devon and Cornwall. The group swapped clothes, distracted security and communicated using Bluetooth earpieces while carting away alcohol from Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

They targeted stores in Bideford, Exeter, Barnstaple, St Austell, Exmouth, Truro, Launceston and Seaton during a brazen five-month campaign of stealing. In total they got away with items worth £49,276, a court heard.

Ringleaders Marian Stoica, 31, and Robert Matei, 26, have each been jailed for two years for conspiracy to steal. Both men are Romanian with a history of committing similar offences in the UK.

Judge David Evans said: “This was on any view a very significant conspiracy to steal from supermarkets. Thousands of pounds worth of goods were stolen from various locations.”

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FEBRUARY

Jamie Insull from Torquay has been jailed for violence(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A dangerous boyfriend went berserk attacking his partner, trashing a flat and punching a neighbour who came to help. Jamie Insull went on the rampage at the property in Torquay and subjected his victim to repeated punches.

The drunken incident of domestic violence spilled out into the street and only ended after he assaulted police who came to arrest him. The 32-year-old punched walls, smeared blood and left a trail of destruction at the scene of the mayhem in Braddon Hill Road East.

Insull, who has a history of violence admitted he ‘sometimes does stupid s**t’. A judge at Exeter Crown Court said he is a danger to the public.

READ MORE

Stuart Hood has been jailed(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A former soldier from Okehampton was jailed for 14 and a half years for multiple historic sex offences against children. Stuart Hood, from Okehampton, sexually abused a boy and two teenage girls.

His offending started when he was a teenager himself in the 1970s and continued when he was a young adult. The prosecution in his trial described Hood as a bully capable of ‘deviant sexual behaviour’ who enjoyed assaulting his physically weaker victims. He chased one with a horse whip and stripped another naked.

Hood, aged 59, was found guilty of 11 offences of indecent assault and indecency with a child during a trial in January.

READ MORE

Jason Hicks has been jailed in Exeter(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A former Devon and Cornwall Police student officer posed as a schoolboy online to trick a nine-year-old girl into exchanging explicit sexualised photos. Jason Hicks, 31, used Tik Tok and Snapchat to talk and groom four other girls aged under 13.

He gained their trust by first appearing genuinely friendly before quickly turning the conversations sexual. His real purpose was to receive naked and sexual images.

Hicks was in training as a student police officer at the time of the offences. Police believe he may have been behaving as a online predator for a number of years.

When he was arrested at his home in Bishopsteignton near Teignmouth in Devon, officers discovered more than 1,200 indecent images of children on his devices.

READ MORE

Robert Hissy has been jailed

Police raided a house in Torquay and discovered a sawn-off shotgun hidden in the guttering. DNA checks on the trigger found it had been handled by Robert Hissey, who lived at the property.

The 40-year-old did not have a firearm certificate. He appeared at Exeter Crown Court to be sentenced for possession of the shotgun and was jailed for 14 months.

Police searched Hissey’s home on December 9. In guttering near a balcony they found the shotgun. Experts examined it and found it could be fired, although no ammunition was discovered.

The court was told that if the single-barrel shotgun had been a fractionally shorter then Hissey would have would have been subject to a tougher minimum five-year sentence.

READ MORE

Laurence Higgs, 33, has now been jailed for two years and two weeks.(Image: Devon and Cornwall Police)

A 33-year-old man from Torquay went berserk by beating up a woman in her home and throwing a tin of paint at her head. Laurence Higgs had been a friend of the victim for 15 years but caused mayhem by repeatedly punching and kicking her.

The screaming woman begged him to stop and tried to calm him down by saying she loved him. But Higgs responded with more blows, smashing a mirror and throwing the paint.

The defendant gave a ‘ludicrous’ explanation to police, who arrested him at The Haywain pub a short time later, by saying she may have inflicted the extensive bruising and black eye herself in order to get him into trouble.

READ MORE

Christopher Houghton has been jailed for sex offences(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A 26-year-old Exeter man was jailed for raping a 12-year-old boy. Christopher Houghton committed multiple sex assaults on the child and tried to buy his silence by offering gifts.

He also took indecent photos of his victim and shared them with another paedophile. The boy told his parents about what had happened and Houghton was arrested.

The defendant, of Brunswick Street, pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual assault against a child under 13, four charges of raping a child, and one each of making and distributing indecent images. He was jailed for eight years.

READ MORE

Dee Rigler has been jailed for wounding(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A dangerous North Devon man smashed a wine bottle over the head of a member of the public who tried to stop him pestering schoolgirls and women. Dee Rigler landed up to four blows on the head of the victim while shouting ‘I’m going to f*****g kill you’.

The violence happened after boozed-up Rigler made a series of bizarre and lewd comments during a drunken walkabout in Bideford. The victim warned him several times to stop pestering people.

During a confrontation at a bus stop the two men wrestled before Rigler used the wine bottle to inflict serious wounds to the man’s scalp. He jabbed and ground the broken bottle into his head as they tussled and fell to the ground.

READ MORE

James Matthews has been jailed for transporting drugs(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

Police found half a kilo of cocaine hidden in the engine compartment of a car stopped in Newton Abbot. The vehicle was being driven by Liverpool man James Matthews who told police it must have been there when he bought the vehicle.

Checks revealed Matthews’ DNA all over the plastic wrapping. The 58-year-old admitted being a courier for a Liverpool-based county lines operation bringing drugs to the South West.

He pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to supply and was jailed for two years and three months at Exeter Crown Court.

READ MORE

Martell Williams has been jailed for drug dealing in Exeter(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A 24-year-old man from London has been jailed for his part in a county lines drug operation linking London and Exeter. Martell Williams was part of a gang sending out bulk text messages to addicts offering the sale of heroin and cocaine.

He made a number of trips from the capital to Devon and Cornwall in 2018 to restock supplies and collect cash, Exeter Crown Court was told. He was caught after two other members of the gang were arrested in Exeter.

Williams was traced by police after the arrest of fellow drug supplier Shaun Roberts in Exeter in 2018. Roberts was part of a county lines gang operating from a house in Arena Park.

READ MORE

Exeter Law Courts(Image: DevonLive)

An 87-year-old will probably die in jail after being convicted of multiple serious sexual offences against a child. Gordon Suckley sexually abused a boy over a prolonged period during the 1970s and 1980s.

His victim was just 11 when the offending started and included crimes that today would be charged as rape. Suckley appeared at Exeter Crown Court to be sentenced for a total of five offences.

He was jailed for seven and a half years. The judge paid tribute to the victim who was in court to see the pensioner get his ‘just deserts’.

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The scene of the crash in Paignton (Image: Leigh Burns)

The owner of a beauty salon in Paignton was thrown across the room and badly injured when a drunk driver mounted the pavement and crashed through the front window. Liam McDermott was seen on CCTV driving on the wrong side of the road and weaving between traffic moments before careering into the Fuss Beauty and Nails salon.

The owner of the long-established business had just put a customer in a chair when McDermott’s VW Polo hit the shop. She was left bloodied, bruised, with a loss of hearing and unable to return to work.

The repercussions were so severe that she had to sell the business she had built up over 20 years and has not returned to Paignton.

The 22-year-old admitted dangerous driving and jailed for 10 months at Exeter Crown Court. He also pleaded guilty to a separate incident when he was caught roaming the streets with a machete and a sickle.

READ MORE

McDonalds at Penn Inn, Newton Abbot(Image: Andy Styles)

A van driver who gave police false identity documents has been jailed. Grigore Tiosa drove down the M5 and was then spoken to by police at the McDonald’s in Newton Abbot.

He told police he was employed to deliver parcels but when officers checked his fingerprints they discovered he had given a false name and a counterfeit driving licence. Further checks showed he was a disqualified driver.

The 29-year-old, of Homefield Road in Heavitree, Exeter, was jailed for nine months. He admitted two offences of possessing identity documents with improper intention.

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Logan Crook was jailed for driving offences(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

Logan Crook, aged 23, from Teignmouth, was sentenced to 12 months in prison at Exeter Crown Court for offences including dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and breach of a suspended sentence.

MARCH

Michael Schofield, 33, has been sentenced after being found guilty of rape and other sexual offences(Image: Devon and Cornwall Police)

A man from Bideford was jailed after being found guilty of raping two vulnerable girls in Devon. Michael Schofield, 33, from Bideford posed as a 17-year-old online in order to meet, groom, and abuse two girls, aged 15 and 16.

Schofield was charged with one count of rape, six counts of paying for the sexual services of a child, and three counts of offering to supply a Class A drug. He was found guilty of all counts in a trial in July last year.

Deputy Senior Investigating Officer DS John Crewe said: “Schofield started to speak to one of his victims online in the summer of 2020. Following grooming on Snapchat, Schofield met with the girl in the autumn and paid her for sex with cash and drugs.”

He continued: “This abuse continued until spring 2021 and had a significant impact on the victim’s mental health. Schofield repeated his pattern of grooming on a second teenage girl, who he then met in the summer of 2021, and raped her; Over the next two months Schofield continued to meet the girl, paying her for sex with cash and drugs.”

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Christopher Beau and Jamie Randell

Two county line drugs dealers from London were jailed for a heroin and cocaine supply plot linking the capital with Exeter. The men were part of a gang who sent out thousands of text messages to local addicts advertising the sale of drugs.

They arranged to supply wraps to users at locations around the city. But when police moved in to arrest one of the men he climbed a tree and stayed there for 45 minutes deleting contacts on the drugs phone.

Jamie Randell, a 30-year-old former electrician, was sentenced to seven and a half years in jail for his leading role in charge of the phone sending messages. Beau Christopher, a 32-year-old mechanic, was locked up for five and a half years.

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Tayla White and David Ellis

A jealous boyfriend set fire to his partner’s empty house in Paignton – causing £180,000 of damage and killing a pet guinea pig. David Ellis was seen by a neighbour climbing out of a window at the semi-detached property in Foxhole Road moments after starting the devastating blaze.

The fire killed the family pet, destroyed Christmas presents and left the property virtually uninhabitable, Exeter Crown Court was told.

Ellis was angry after being arrested for a domestic assault and had issued a number of veiled threats in the days before the incident. He had previously told his partner ‘If I can’t have you no one can’.

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———

A violent and controlling boyfriend was jailed for making his partner’s life hell during a campaign of domestic abuse, stalking and grotesque threats. Tayla White, 22, strangled his girlfriend in the street during a jealous rage about her crop top, threatened to disfigure her with an iron, and sent abusive messages after a miscarriage.

She was so terrified of his rages that she feared for her safety if she left him. When she did pack up and leave he stalked her by repeatedly turning up at her mum’s to intimidate her.

His victim said in a statement she is still terrified of him and what he might do when he is released. White, who has a history of violence, said he was sorry for his behaviour.

“He effectively said if he could not be with her she couldn’t be with anyone else,” said Ms McCarthy.

READ MORE

Lewis Macnamara from Paignton(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A Devon man has been jailed for punching his own grandmother on the jaw because she would not give him tobacco. Lewis Macnamara lost his temper and spat towards the face of the 83-year-old before landing the blow with his fist.

When she tried to leave the room he blocked her path and stopped her calling 999. The 37-year-old admitted assault causing actual bodily harm when he appeared at Exeter Crown Court.

The elderly victim said in a statement that she has done her best to raise her grandson since he was a child but he had always been ‘nasty’ to her. “I’m shocked and hurt that he could do something like this to me,” she added. The offence happened on January 2. Police were called to the address in Paignton to reports of a domestic bust-up.

READ MORE

Courtnie Jevans has been jailed(Image: Cambs Police)

A Newton Abbot woman has been jailed for her part in a sophisticated county lines drugs operation. Courtnie Jevans travelled from London to Cambridge to deal, a court heard.

Police raided a home in Fulbourn Road, Cambridge, on September 13 last year after suspecting her of drug activity. They found the 23-year-old inside in the company of drug users, CambridgeshireLive reported

Officers also found three mobile phones, one of which was linked to dealing class A drugs. Police were able to show that Jevans had travelled between the two cities between July and September to operate a county line.

At Huntingdon Crown Court on Friday (March 17) Jevans, of Sunnybank, Newton Abbot, was sentenced to two years and six months in prison after previously pleading guilty to two counts of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs.

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Police siren flashing (Image: Getty Images)

A Torquay thug who beat his ex partner during a drunken rage has been jailed. Police heard the former partner of Jay Clayton Twaites, 25, crying in terror during a 999 call made while he was attacking her.

She could be heard saying ‘stop hitting me’ and ‘why are you punching me?’ When police arrived at the flat they found a chaotic scene of smashed glass and the victim covered in injuries caused by his violence, including a footprint on her stomach.

Twaites, who was homeless at the time, was arrested and initially told police she had been hitting her own head against a cupboard. But he admitted assault causing actual bodily harm when the case came to court and was jailed for 10 months.

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Samuel Phillips in 2019

A convicted rapist has been brought to justice for a violent sex attack on a 14-year-old girl committed more than a decade ago. Samuel Phillips was a schoolboy himself when he raped the girl in her own home.

She lived with the horror of what happened until reading a DevonLive article in 2019 about Phillips’ conviction for an almost identical offence on another woman. She told a trial at Exeter Crown Court that she felt compelled to tell police because she did not want any more women to be attacked.

The judge paid tribute to the woman’s bravery and commended her for coming forward. He told Phillips: “You clearly acted on your own desire for sexual gratification. You ignored her clear verbal protests and used your much larger frame and grater strength to overcome her.”

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Jason Doidge

An estranged husband threatened to kill his wife and her new lover after storming into the bedroom armed with an axe and large kitchen knife. Raging Jason Doidge waved the weapons at the terrified pair after turning up at the property near Okehampton.

He told the man he would ‘cut his balls off’ and hang them in a tree before dealing with his wife. He could not accept the end of his 32-year marriage and flew into a violent jealous fury when learning his partner was in a relationship with the butcher, a former friend.

The chaos only ended when his wife managed to calm him down and he agreed to leave. Doidge appeared at Exeter Crown Court and was sentenced for five offences connected to the incident.

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Dean Hooson has been jailed for drugs(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A 30-year-old Cullompton man has been jailed for his part in a huge drug conspiracy linking Liverpool and Devon. Dean Hooson was part of a gang arranging the supply of heroin and cocaine for sale on the streets of Devon.

His role was to run two graft phones advertising the sale of heroin and cocaine to users in the town. The lines, one known as Peter Andre, were used to send out dozens of messages.

Hooson was caught in a police investigation called Operation Harbinger that led to the arrest of 16 people and the seizure of heroin and cocaine. The probe found that Hooson was in contact with some members of the gang running similar drug lines in other parts of Devon.

A judge at Exeter Crown Court said Hoosen had a management function within the organised crime group and some awareness of the scale of the supply, although he was not a ringleader with much influence over others.

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Philip Rendle has been jailed for historic sex offences(Image: Avon and Somerset Police)

A Devon man was jailed for a predatory sexual assault on two boys during a camping trip more than two decades ago. Philip Rendle, aged 60, provided the boys with booze before committing the offences.

He gained the trust of the boys’ families who felt their children were in safe hands. Rendle groomed the children, aged 13 and 14 at the time, by giving them money to play in amusement arcades and allowing them to drive his car.

He had a dark past that included a police caution for molesting a Boy Scout a decade earlier. Rendle, of Ashburton, was convicted of three offences of indecent assault, one by penetration. He has been locked up for nine years.

Taunton Crown Court was told one of the boys accompanied Rendle on a trip to Brean Sands in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset in the 1990s. One woke up to find the adult molesting him.

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Josef Macnamara has been jailed for growing cannabis(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A cannabis grower made more than £150,000 from producing drugs and spun a web of lies to hide the truth about the source of his cash. Josef Macnamara lavished £115,000 on a fleet of expensive cars – including £33,000 on a Range Rover Sport and £51,000 on a Audi RS6.

He made his money by growing cannabis at a rural compound near Crediton. Police searched the property and found nearly 150 plants growing.

An investigation revealed Macnamara was earning between £20,000 and £34,000 a year and had somehow managed to obtain a £415,000 mortgage from the bank – despite there being no signs of legitimate income.

When the case came to trial the 50-year-old continued to lie. He admitted growing the plants but said he did so to produce cannabis oil for his bad back. He claimed the vast amounts of money at his disposal came from gambling profits buried in the garden by his late father.

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MICHAEL LYNCH

Michael Lynch(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

Michael Lynch, aged 38, from Liverpool, was sentenced to two years and 10 months in prison at Exeter Crown Court on Friday 10 March for two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

JOSE ALVES

Jose Alvez jailed attempted sexual communication with a child(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

Jose Alves, aged 46, from Exeter, was sentenced to two years in prison at Exeter Crown Court on Thursday 2 March for two counts of attempted sexual communication with a child, three counts of making indecent images of children and one count of distributing indecent images of children.

APRIL

John Holland and Paul Jevons

Four men were used as “donkeys” by a Liverpool drugs gang to transport heroin and cocaine to Devon, a court heard. The men made trips up and down the motorway transporting drugs sold on the streets of Plymouth.

John Holland, Jack Kirby, Luke Shinner and Paul Jevons worked for a gang using a phone number nicknamed “Scouse Eddie”. Three of the men were arrested when a car was stopped on the M5 in Exeter in March last year.

Drugs with a street value of £21,000 were seized. They had roles as couriers and runners and were directed by those above them in the chain. It was claimed by one defence barrister that the men were “donkeys” used by others to carry out their dirty work.

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Martin Smith has been jailed for sexual assault(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A chef from Torquay was jailed for sexually abusing a child. Martin Smith, aged 36, was convicted of four charges during a trial at Exeter Crown Court in February.

He returned to court to be sentenced for the offences. He was locked up for eight years with an extra 12 months on licence when he is released.

The offences came to light when the child told an adult that Smith had touched her sexually. He denied doing anything wrong but the jury found him guilty after hearing the evidence.

Mr Lee Bremridge, defending, said Smith has a good job at a restaurant where he works as a head chef and “has got them into the Michelin Guide due to his own hard work.”

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Owen Drew has been jailed for robbery(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A drug addict has apologised for a knifepoint robbery on a teenage student in Exeter. Owen Drew and Joshua Drew stole a bag and its contents from the 18-year-old as she walked back with a friend to her accommodation near the St Luke’s Campus.

He wore a Halloween-style skeleton mask over his face and demanded she hand over her bag. The robbers fled the scene but were arrested after police dogs tracked their route to a shop in Magdalen Road where they were arrested.

Owen Drew, 28, of Tennyson Avenue, was jailed for three years and two months at Exeter Crown Court. Joshua Drew, 23, of Shakespeare Road, was given a suspended sentence for his lesser role.

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Benjamin Grossman was jailed at Exeter Crown Court(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A woman walking home from a nightclub in Torquay was grabbed from behind by a stranger and threatened with rape unless she handed over her belongings. Benjamin Grossman put the terrified woman in a headlock and threw her to the ground before snatching her £500 iPhone and Apple watch.

He told her: “Give me your things or I’ll rape you,” a court heard. The drug addict ran off with her belongings and later sold the expensive smart watch to a woman at a cashpoint machine for £20.

The woman told police she thought she was going to die during the incident. She still suffers flashbacks of the man standing over her demanding she hand over the items.

The 37-year-old, who has a long criminal record, admitted robbery at Exeter Crown Court and was jailed for six years and eight months. The judge added an extra four years on licence because of the danger he poses to the public.

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Floral tributes left by the roadside at scene of fatal crash on Bridge Road in Exeter(Image: DevonLive)

A woman lost control of a high-performance BMW and crashed into railings on Bridge Road in Exeter – killing her partner who was a passenger. Dean Gardner was thrown out of the sunroof as the car driven by Elizabeth Bradley flipped and landed on a service road near Countess Wear roundabout.

A member of the public ran into a garden to avoid being hit by the BMW X4M and people standing at a bus stop rushed to help. Mr Gardner died at the scene after being crushed by the wreckage.

Members of his family attended Exeter Crown Court to see Bradley, 43, sentenced for causing death by careless driving. The court was told she had accelerated at speed from the roundabout but was not able to handle the powerful car and lost traction as she entered Bridge Road.

Bradley, who also suffered several broken bones and spent a week in hospital, was sentenced to 16 months in prison. The judge said only she could answer why she had felt able to drive at excessive speed that night with such catastrophic consequences.

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Billy Curtis has been jailed for drugs conspiracy(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A 21-year-old from Exeter was jailed for his part in a massive cocaine and heroin supply network linking Devon and Liverpool. Dozens of phones were used to send thousands of messages to addicts in the county as part of the county lines plot, a court heard.

Billy Curtis was one 16 people arrested as part of Operation Harbinger, an investigation by Devon and Cornwall Police into the supply of heroin and cocaine. The investigation revealed the existence of a group that was sourcing and supplying large quantities of drugs.

The methods involved sending parcels from Liverpool to addresses in Devon. The group was busy at different times in towns all over the county, including Ilfracombe, Torquay and Cullompton.

Curtis is the final member of the group to be sentenced. He has been jailed at Exeter Crown Court for eight years and three months. He played a significant role in the supply chain, often directing teenagers to sell directly to users.

Judge Anna Richardson said: “This was a serious and longstanding conspiracy conducted over a number of months between many people. You had significant contact with many of them.

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Craig Harrison from Torquay has been convicted of manslaughter(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A Torbay man died after being punched in the face by a drunken homeless man in Paignton town centre. Craig Harrison killed 69-year-old Timothy Smith in a senseless and unprovoked attack in Victoria Street.

Mr Smith sustained a head injury in the assault and died 16 days later in Derriford Hospital. Harrison, an alcoholic with a history of violence, has been convicted of his manslaughter.

A judge said: “You killed him. You killed an entirely innocent, decent man for no more reason than you were nasty and drunk”.

The incident that led to his death happened on March 11, 2021. Mr Smith took a morning bus from his home in Brixham to Paignton. CCTV showed him getting off at the bus station. Harrison was talking to another man nearby.

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Justin Reeve has been jailed for rape(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A personal trainer from Torquay was jailed for raping two women he met online. Justin Reeve assaulted one woman in her home after arranging to help her lose weight and get fit.

He raped the second victim after meeting her on a swingers website. The pair had consensual sex before his mood changed and he turned violent, forcing her to have anal sex and ignoring her pleas to stop.

The 18st fitness fanatic was described as a “monster” by one of his victims. He was convicted by a jury at a trial in February and returned to Exeter Crown Court on Wednesday to be sentenced.

Reeve was branded a danger to women by the judge who locked him up for 14 years. He added an extra five years to the sentence to protect women, making a total of 19 years.

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MAY

Connor Sidell(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A creepy intruder woke a sleeping woman after tripping and falling on the stairs. Connor Sidell roamed the house in Dawlish collecting items in a bag when he accidentally alerted the owner, a court heard.

She thought it was her son returning from a night out but when she tapped him on the shoulder to ask if he was all right the burglar jumped up and ran from the scene. When police arrived he was hiding under her car in the drive.

Sidell, aged 25, has been jailed for two years at Exeter Crown Court. He admitted burglary.

The offence happened in the early hours of April 7. The owner of the property in Regent Street heard a noise in the hallway and when she went to investigate saw a person on the floor.

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Adrian Jagodzinzki has been jailed for a sexual assault in Exeter(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A South Street drinker has been jailed for a depraved sexual assault and attempted rape of a woman in front of passers-by in Exeter city centre. Adrian Jagodzinzki, also known as Woodford, took advantage of her while she was in a semi-conscious state due to drink.

The 52-year-old was captured on city centre CCTV trying to kiss the woman on a bench, putting his hands down her trousers before exposing himself and trying to orally rape her.

She pulled away and when police arrived shortly afterwards she was found with her eyes closed and unresponsive. Jagodzinzki claimed to have no memory due to alcohol-related brain damage. Exeter Crown Court was told he was ashamed and “traumatised” as a result of seeing his actions on CCTV.

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Jack Frankum

A Devon man was jailed for raping a woman in a field. Jack Frankum asked the woman for a lift home from an agricultural event.

When she stopped to urinate in the remote location he sexually assaulted and then raped her. The 28-year-old, from Cheriton Bishop, denied the offence but was found guilty at the end of a trial at Exeter Crown Court.

He has been sentenced to eight years in prison. The victim said memories of her ordeal were like a “horrible shadow” following her.

Frankum will serve two thirds of the eight years in prison, with the remainder on licence.

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Keith Barons has been jailed for raping a child(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A 66-year-old Cullompton man was jailed for raping a child more than 20 years ago. Keith Barons, a retired housing association manager, gave the girl alcohol before subjecting her to a terrifying ordeal.

He was aged in his early 40s at the time and the child 12 or 13 years old, Exeter Crown Court was told. She lived with the trauma of what he did to her for years before going to the police in 2019.

When questioned Barons denied doing anything wrong and claimed she was making up the story. But just before the case was due to go to trial he confessed and now says he is ashamed and sorry for what he did.

The judge said the actions of the former Sanctuary Housing manager had been “wicked” and that he had repeatedly lied when confronted with the truth. Recorder Don Tait also praised the courage of the victim who read a statement in court describing the psychological price she has had to pay.

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Charlotte Godbeer has been jailed for arson(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A Devon woman was locked up for starting a dangerous house fire – and then playing the role of hero by raising the alarm. Drunken Charlotte Godbeer woke her neighbour to say her house was ablaze.

But it was Godbeer who had started the fire by pushing burning clothing in the letterbox. While the incident was being investigated Godbeer went on to start two more fires – one at her mum’s in Sandford near Crediton and another at her own house in Bradninch.

The 37-year-old denied responsibility but was found guilty by a jury of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered. She returned to court to be sentenced and was jailed for three years.

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Paedophile Daniel Keenor has been jailed(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

An entrenched paedophile was caught by undercover police sending sick sexual videos to what he thought were 12-year-old girls. Daniel Keenor used encrypted chat sites to share movies of very young children being abused by adults.

The 46-year-old also suggested meeting up with the girls to have sex and give them drugs. What he did not know was that the ‘children’ were undercover police officers.

Cops went to his house in Paignton and arrested him. Keenor is a registered sex offender with a long history of similar offending.

Exeter Crown Court was told he had previously completed a sex offender programmes to change his deviant behaviour but it had not worked. He admitted 18 offences relating to the sharing and possession of indecent images and to attempting to engage children in sexual communication and activity.

Recorded Mathew Turner said he posed a risk of offending again.

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Christopher Harper (Image: Ted Davenport / Exeter Court Service)

A man was jailed after aiming an axe at the neck of a police officer. Devon and Cornwall Police was called to a domestic incident at Christopher Harper’s home in Kingsteignton when the terrifying attack took place.

Police Sergeant Mark Smith arrived at the scene in Avery Hill alone on September 2022 and was met by Harper who was armed with an axe and a sword. After unsuccessfully deploying a taser, Sergeant Smith withdrew to a marked police van.

Harper, 49, followed him to the vehicle and aimed a blow with the axe at the officer which smashed into his car and came close to his neck. Police reinforcements, including firearms officers, soon arrived and he was arrested outside his home in the early hours of September 11.

Harper has now been convicted of attempting to wound Police Sergeant Smith with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm; possession of an axe and sword, criminal damage to a police van, and domestic harassment.

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Exeter Law Courts(Image: DevonLive)

A sex offender has been sent back to jail after he left his registered address on the Isle of Wight and ended up in Torquay. Gary Taylor, a 63-year-old with a criminal record containing 203 offences, breached his Sex Offender Notification Requirement by not telling police he had moved to Devon.

He was arrested in Totnes and admitted failing to comply with the notification requirements when he appeared at Exeter Crown Court. He said he had got mixed up with the rules and was jailed for nine months.

Prosecutor Miss Caroline Bolt said the defendant’s long list of previous convictions, mostly for public disorder and drink-related offending, stretched back to 1973. He was convicted of sexual assault in 2009 and jailed for eight years and four months in 2015 for sexual assault by penetration.

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Filippo Taylor(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

Filippo Taylor, aged 37, from Galmpton was sentenced to 17 months in prison at Exeter Crown Court on on Wednesday 24 March for breach of a suspended sentence for dangerous driving and assault.

John Doorbar(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

John Doorbar, aged 29, from Exeter, was sentenced to 13 months in prison at Exeter Crown Court on Tuesday 23 May for burglary and malicious communications.

June

Nicholas Craig has been jailed(Image: NCA)

A Devon paedophile who set up an online forum for sharing indecent images of children has been sentenced to three years in jail. Nicholas Craig, 38, from Sidmouth, was arrested by National Crime Agency investigators after he was identified as an administrator of a group on the online chat platform Kik.

Craig monitored the forum, verified new members and removed those who were not active enough or failed to supply indecent images of children as per group rules. After arresting Craig at his home in February 2022, NCA officers seized five devices.

Forensic examination found them to contain 1,518 indecent images of children in categories A-C (A being the most severe). Further enquiries showed that Craig had used a number of alias accounts in the names of teenage boys and girls to engage children in sexualised chats on Twitter and Telegram. The youngest person he contacted was aged 10.

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Jiro Wilson has been jailed for fraud(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A crooked water company boss from Exeter sponged tens of thousands of pounds from trusting girlfriends and an employee – then cheated taxpayers out of nearly £300,000. Jiro Wilson used emotional blackmail to get loans from four woman which he promised to invest in his doomed business Tor Water.

When Tor Water failed after just 20 months he successfully applied to the government for a £50,000 Covid Bounce Back loan. Wilson then submitted “wholly dishonest” VAT claims of £239,000.

Wilson blew all the cash on himself. Instead of investing it in the company he used it to fund a lavish lifestyle of restaurants, shopping, escorts and parties.

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Luke Geard from Axminster(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A driver has been jailed for ten years for mowing down a woman and her causing horrific injuries. Luke Geard was drunk and angry when he deliberately ploughed into the woman with his BMW X5 in Axminster.

He collided with a parked vehicle outside her home then put his foot down and pinned her against a car. Geard drove away from the scene to buy a kebab, leaving her in agony on the ground.

She suffered multiple broken bones and needed emergency surgery. When police arrested him later that evening he said: “That’s not my problem, I couldn’t give a f**k.”

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Daniel Leitch and Tina Westcott(Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A pair of violent intruders have been jailed for breaking into an elderly couple’s home and using an angle grinder to demand money from them. Daniel Leitch and Tina Westcott burst into the caravan at 3am when the man and woman were both asleep and then attacked the man with a piece of wood which he picked up to defend himself.

They believed the couple had at least £1,000 cash and Westcott picked up and plugged in an angle grinder before handing it to Leitch, who held it at the terrified male victim’s head.

He suffered a cut hand as he tried to fend off the grinder, which was operating at full speed but was left traumatised by seeing its blade held just centimetres from his neck. Leitch humiliated the woman victim by forcing her to take off her top so he could look at her breasts.

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Batholomew Street in Exeter near the Catacombs

A police officer thought he would die when a man grabbed him around the throat during a savage attack in Exeter. Gary Barlow was drunk and dealing with a mental breakdown when he attacked the sergeant near the Catacombs.

He ‘exploded’ with unprovoked violence when the officer tried to arrest him for being aggressive, a court heard. He put his hand around the officer’s neck and his fingers in his mouth while grappling on the floor.

The unprovoked assault only ended when the policeman pepper sprayed Barlow, not to be confused with the famous Take That frontman, in the face and two members of the public came to help. The officer later said he thought he was in a life or death struggle with his attacker.

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