In the Media

Former gang leader Terry Adams back in jail for hiding big spending

PUBLISHED November 25, 2011

Boss of London crime family spent thousands on plastic surgery and jewellery, which broke financial reporting order

The one-time gangland boss Terry Adams paid ?7,500 for a Harley Street facelift during a spending spree that he hid from the authorities, a court heard.

Adams, once head of what a court has heard was the most feared and revered organised criminal gang in the UK, covered up the spending by getting others to buy the goods for him.

The 57-year-old head of the notorious Adams family has been under a financial reporting order since he was jailed in 2007 for money laundering after a ?10m surveillance operation. Adams was also ordered to pay back ?750,000 of his criminal earnings. To date he has repaid ?350,000.

Adams had been required to make reports to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) detailing all spending over ?500 for the next 10 years. But he appeared in court on Friday and admitted four counts of breaching the order in February and June this year.

Details of the spending he has hidden from the authorities were detailed to Westminster magistrates court.

In January Adams underwent a pioneering non-surgical facelift at the Harley Street Medical Skin Clinic, which cost ?7,500. The stem cell procedure involves injecting fat from other parts of the body into the face and was paid for by his sister-in-law Camilla Hicks after the NHS refused to fund it.

Other expenditure he hid from the authorities included membership of an exclusive Hertfordshire country club, ?10,000 in solicitors' fees and ?2,200 on a Cartier watch from a police auction.

The watch had been confiscated from Adams, whose north London criminal empire was once valued at ?150m, in the aftermath of his money laundering conviction in March 2007. It was later put up for sale at a police auction.

But prosecutor Esther Schutzer-Weissman said Adams arranged for his wife Ruth to buy the watch back from the auction and she eventually handed it to him on his release from prison on licence in June last year.

At around the same time, Mrs Adams converted her membership of the Grove Hotel Spa, in Chandler's Cross, Hertfordshire, into a joint membership for her and her husband, at an annual cost of ?3,460.

She also opened a ?10,000 client account with Powell Spencer solicitors to launch a judicial review action over the terms of her husband's release licence, which was eventually refused.

"Evidently this defendant was enjoying the Grove Hotel," said Schutzer-Weissman.

"The record management doesn't allow us to know how often he attended but he certainly went in January and February this year and on each occasion a booking for at least two people was made at the restaurant."

These transactions were not detailed in the reports sent to Soca and, following a series of letters from the agency warning him about the consequences of non-compliance, Adams was arrested after attending Charing Cross police station by appointment in August. He was immediately recalled to prison from where he appeared in court on Friday.

The court heard that Adams told Soca he did not think he had done anything wrong. Malcolm Swift QC, representing Adams, said he was now a broken man.

"He is completely paranoid about continuing to be under surveillance by the authorities. When at liberty he doesn't even drive a car or use the telephone because he is determined nothing should be misconstrued."

Adams was now living on the "dwindling capital lawfully saved by his wife" from the sale of her half of the Adams mansion in Dukes Avenue, Finchley, north London.

But district judge Quentin Purdy, who imposed eight weeks' jail for the breaches to run consecutively to his seven-year sentence for money laundering, said he was "shrewd and calculating".

The judge said: "You wilfully and, in my judg ment, arrogantly sought to frustrate the effect of a financial reporting order, well knowing that a significant confiscation order remains largely unpaid."

Adams' earliest release date will be December 2013. © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds