Man jailed for extorting money by violence and managing a brothel

15/12/2016

A 36 year old man has been jailed for eight and a half years at Preston Crown Court for conspiracy to blackmail a woman in Preston and running a brothel at 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.

Sicarius McGrath was found guilty following an eight week trial of conspiracy to blackmail. He pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to possessing an offensive weapon, possessing Class A drugs and controlling prostitutes for financial gain whilst managing a brothel.

Suhail Patel used a mobile phone in his prison cell at HMP Haverigg to conspire with Sicarius McGrath to collect a debt from a woman in Preston. Patel was sentenced to seven years imprisonment. Paul Williams was also sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for assisting an offender, after making phone calls and supplying transport to McGrath after he stabbed a man in self defence on Brixton Road in Preston on 19th June 2015. Williams was also disqualified from driving for two years upon his release from prison.

Brett Gerrity, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West said: "Sicarius McGrath, previously known as Anthony Harrington, conspired with "Suhail "Solly" Patel to collect a debt owed to him by a Preston woman .

McGrath and Patel aggressively pursued the woman leaving her terrified for her own and her family's safety. Mr Patel, who was at that time serving a sentence for violent disorder during which a firearm was discharged, passed the responsibility for collecting the debt to McGrath.  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.

"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 women who he employed as prostitutes at the house he rented. Numerous text messages showed how he agreed 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 in order to advertise the women he employed

"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. We will now seek to strip Patel and McGrath of any profits they have made from their criminal activities using Proceeds of Crime legislation."

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."