Gang members jailed for £1m Liverpool to Devon drugs plot

Gang members jailed for £1m Liverpool to Devon drugs plot

The final nine members of a ruthless gang who took part in a £1m a year drug business linking Merseyside and Devon were jailed.

The operation was headed up by Liverpool-born dealer Joshua Garrett, who hatched a plan to murder a suspected rival while watching a crucial Reds Champions League clash.

He shockingly stabbed Tony Dadzie through the head so savagely the knife fractured his skull and went right through to his brain.

He had been mistaken for a rival dealer from London.

Merseysider Garrett, who left the city in his early teens and later tried to muscle in on the Devon criminal markets, was protecting a heroin and cocaine dealing business from a gang from the capital which were trying to move into their territory.

Garrett, who liaised with Liverpool peddlers as he built up his own organised crime gang in Torbay, was handed a massive 33 years sentence for attempted murder earlier this year.

His co-accused Tony Size, from Bootle, who also helped plan the killing plot, and was Number 3 in the gang, got 19-and-a-half years.

Garrett and accomplice Ben Bramall set up an ambush in which they planned to kill the Londoner who they mistakenly believed was the leader of the rival group.

Today, the last members of the gang were sent to jail, meaning in total, they were sentenced to a total of 147 years.

L-R: Peter Thompson, Jessica Storey and Paul O’Brien

They were largely couriers and street dealers and included six members from Liverpool.

They are Jack Ross, 28, of Capstick Crescent, Liverpool, who received eight years and six months, Jessica Storey, 29, of Priorsfield Road, Liverpool, who got four years, Paula Storey, 57, of Priorsfield Road, Liverpool (two years and six months), Paul O’Brien, 40, of Marcus Court, Liverpool (four years and nine months), Paul Riley, 39, of Ronan Close, Liverpool (three years and six months), Terrence Ingham, 25, of Castle Street, Torquay (six years and six months), Elliot Atkinson, 22, of Southport Road, Liverpool, (six years and three months), Liam Southern, 21, of Braddon Street, Torquay (seven years and nine months), Peter Thompson, 43, Dorchester Grove, Torquay (four years and ten months).

L-R: Elliot Atkinson and Jack Ross

Danny Ambrose, of Furlong Close, Buckfastleigh, received two years, suspended for two years and 100 hours unpaid work.

The gang dominated the drugs trade in the Devon towns of Torquay and Newton Abbot, but much of their product was sourced from Liverpool, with accomplices from the city.

L-R: Liam Southern, Paula Storey and Paul Riley

For the attack which almost ended in murder, Garrett and his henchmen recruited ex-classmate Daniel Whitehead, and two other members of their gang, Jamie Barbut and Size, to help them stage the attack in Paignton.

The ambush had been carefully planned for at least a week with a car being bought in which to carry it out and one of their gang infiltrated into the rival group.

Barbut, who normally worked for Garrett as a drugs delivery driver, pretended to defect to the South London gang, who sold their drugs under the street name of Rico.

He agreed to drive two young dealers from London to customers in Newton Abbot and Torbay, but was secretly keeping Garrett informed of their movements.

Tony Size, from Bootle, took part in a plot to murder a suspected rival drug dealer in Devon
(Image: devon police)

Barbut’s white BMW was ambushed in Penwill Way, Paignton, and back seat passenger Mr Dadzie was viciously stabbed in the head, but he miraculously survived.

The 24-year-old, who was visiting friends in Torquay and was not part of the Rico gang, only survived after brain surgery at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.

He spent 15 days in a coma and has had to re-learn how to walk and speak.

Garrett bought the VW Passat which was used in the attack for £2,400.

He got unwitting car dealer Wayne Delbridge to have it scrapped for just £300 to destroy the evidence.

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The finishing touches to the plot were agreed while the attackers were watching the second-leg of the Manchester City versus Liverpool European Cup quarter-final in a pub in Paignton in April 2018.

Barbut tipped off Garrett about the movements of the Rico gang and stopped his BMW as the Passat pulled in front of it.

He then unlocked the doors to enable the attack to start.

The two young dealers in the front passenger seat and rear nearside seat ran off unscathed, but Mr Dadzie was trapped in the seat behind the driver.

He tried to hold the door shut, but Bramall, who was seen with a knife, Size and Whitehead joined forces to force it open.

At the same time Garrett got in and stabbed Mr Dadzie.

Ben Bramall was involved in a deadly plot to stab a suspected rival drug dealer in the head during a shocking Devon ambush
Ben Bramall was involved in a deadly plot to stab a suspected rival drug dealer in the head during a shocking Devon ambush
(Image: devon police)

The so-called graft phone, which the Rico gang were using to arrange their drug deals, and the drugs which they were carrying, were stolen from the car before the attackers fled.

They dumped the Passat in Ramshill Road and switched into Garrett’s Mercedes, which then drove on back roads to Newton Abbot to take the gang well away from the scene of the attack.

They were trapped by a painstaking police inquiry in which detectives were able to show the contact with Barbut and the movement of all five men through their mobile phone usage.

Barbut was stopped by police as he sped towards Torbay hospital with the seriously injured Mr Dadzie in the back of his car.

The other two dealers had got back in after the ambush and were arrested.

After the case, it emerged how Garrett, Bramall and Whitehead became notorious when they were just 16 for being among the first in the country to receive ASBOs.

Daniel Whitehead took part in a plot to murder a suspected rival drug dealer in a Devon ambush
Daniel Whitehead took part in a plot to murder a suspected rival drug dealer in a Devon ambush
(Image: devon police)

They and their two henchmen were jailed for a total of 90 years for running the massive drug dealing operation and carrying out the almost-deadly ambush.

At the time, Judge Peter Johnson told Garrett: “Over many years you built up a highly profitable business supplying class A drugs to users in the Torbay area.

“In a well-practised routine, cocaine and heroin were brought from Liverpool.

“The scale of the enterprise was huge.

“It was comfortably over £1 million and you had 100 to 150 customers a day.

“The rewards and risks were large, but so are the penalties.”

“You guarded this lucrative business jealously and were not happy to learn of rival suppliers.”

Liverpool Echo – Liverpool News