Lowestoft fraud woman fights to keep nearly �2m

A LOWESTOFT mother-of-three convicted of three fraud offences is fighting a court order to repay nearly �2m amid claims the money belongs to her fugitive ex-boyfriend.

Ellen George, of Colville Road, Lowestoft, is contesting a confiscation order with HM Customs, despite her former partner Richard Neil Davison being on the run for seven years and twice skipping bail.

However, in a linked case, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is bringing proceedings against Mr Davison, in his absence, in a bid to seize �7.5m from him. It is taking civil recovery proceedings against the former owner of Crompton Marine Ltd, of Brook Marina, Lowestoft, even though he has never stood trial.

It is understood George is arguing that he �1,950,409 in assets she was ordered to hand over by Ipswich Crown Court as 'proceeds from her crimes' actually belong to Mr Davison.

Both hearings are scheduled to take place before the administrative court of the Queen's Bench at the Royal Courts of Justice on March 10. Davison, who is known as Neil Davison, has been on the run since Customs officers raided premises in Lowestoft and southern Spain in March, 2004.

About 70 Spanish officers were involved in the swoops aimed at smashing a multi-million pound drug network which transported class A drugs between North Africa and the Costa Del Sol.

The raids netted 16 other suspects in Malaga, Nerja and Estepona.

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The prosecution at George's trial said the drug runners had used rigid-hulled inflatable boats, allegedly supplied by Mr Davison, to outrun the coastal patrols by law enforcement agencies.

Mr Davison, formerly of Colville Road, Lowestoft, was first arrested as he came out of his flat in Estepona. He was originally detained in prison, but was eventually bailed before going on the run.

He was arrested for a second time in February, 2008. However, he was released pending further inquiries and skipped bail a second time. His whereabouts are still unknown.

George, an ex-director of Crompton Marine Ltd, admitted possessing criminal property and five offences of conspiring to defraud the Inland Revenue in 2008. She was given a two-year suspended prison sentence.

Last April, following her trial, Judge David Goodin made a confiscation order against her and ordered it to be paid within 18 months. He set a six-year prison term in default of payment.

An earlier hearing was told that officers who raided George's home in 2004 found more than �1.25m in cash, including �250,000 stuffed in a holdall under the stairs.

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