The murder in Spain of a millionaire jeweller from Bristol gave an opportunity to “dip his toe” once again into the city’s late night economy. But the Cornerman’s cockiness and old-fashioned way of running protection rackets would ultimately prove his undoing.
In April 2014, the jeweller Andrew Bush was ambushed and shot dead by his ex while he was on holiday in the Costa del Sol with her younger replacement. The 48-year-old body builder had fingers in many pies, not all kosher, some said.
The Spanish court found that 24-year-old Mayka Kukucova was consumed with jealousy, however it was never clear how the swimwear model got hold of an untraceable gun.
Not long after the murder, Bush’s Gold Trader jewellers in the Galleries shopping centre in Bristol was bought by , a local nightclub owner, and Clive Moore, who ran a security company.
Moore, one of Bush’s gym friends, suggested taking over the jewellers as a way of recouping the heavy losses that he and Sellars had incurred trying to expand their nightclub interests.
Moore’s Niche Security ran many of the city’s doors, including Chasers, a nightclub owned by Sellars, but the pair lost big money investing in two other clubs – Panache and Projekt.
It would later emerge in trial that their relationship deteriorated after a gang visited the new jewellery shop. In court, Sellars said that he and Moore had a sit down in a local pub with a man calling himself Carlos who explained that Bush owed £60,000 to the in London.
The problem of having a real underworld reputation is that chancers will use it to scam the less brave. Sellars suspected that Carlos and Moore might be working together to take the jewellery shop off him.
A Sussex-based licensing lawyer referred Sellars to Andy Baker who he hoped could “shed light” on his problems in Bristol and parlay with the Adams in London.
Baker was happy to oblige and reconnect with old acquaintances. He took Sellars to meet an unnamed representative of the crime family in Hatton Garden, London’s jewellery hub, where Terry Adams could often be found. Sellars was relieved to hear that they, at least, had no interest in the jewellery shop.
With Sellars in the palm of his hand, the Cornerman exploited the indebted nightclub owner to grow his reach in Bristol’s thriving nightlife scene.
A license to print money
Baker had learned his violent trade working for the Adams in nineties London. “Running the doors was a license to print money,” said a veteran detective who pursued the Cornerman back then. It’s an old adage: He who controls the doors, controls the drugs.
Steve ‘Smiffy’ Smith, a well-respected club promoter and house DJ behind many raves and Ibiza reunions, was one of Baker’s silent partners in those days until he went away for dealing cocaine, apparently for the Adams. “Smiffy was fundamental to London, one of the guys who knew and dealt with everyone. He was a fixer,” a shy Bristol businessman friendly with both men told the Cable.
“When [Baker first] came to Bristol [in 1993] there was a turf war going on among door companies and companies from other parts of the UK trying to muscle in,” the businessman continued.
“Baker stopped a lot of those [companies] with a guy called Ronnie Butler, King of the Gypsies … He’d [Baker] set up with a door company and get a cut of what they took. But if they had problems, call him and he’d turn up with his boys … Bristol never succumbed. No one ever got a foothold in Bristol.”
Baker played up his link to the Adams crime family to ensure protection for new clubs and bars opening up outside of London. The first club he ‘looked after’ in Bristol was called Vadims at the top of Park Street on the triangle.
Those that didn’t fall into line – such as the Esmailis, who worked doors in Bristol – were likely to be shown the ways of the gun.
Nevertheless, London remained the city where Baker earned his biggest cut and collected his fattest envelopes of cash from club owners and door security companies. By 2015, he had taken his eye off Bristol’s late night economy in pursuit of property and other deals. But after taking Sellars under his wing the Cornerman was encouraged to “dip his toe” once more into the bar and club scene.
Andy Baker:Theonlygoodthingis…he’s [Matthew Sellars]gotusbackoutgrafting,he’sgotusbusy.Hoddinott:Yea,that’srightyea.Baker:rightamongstit…andIdidn’trealiseClivehadsneakedinandnearlytookoverallofBristol.Hoddinott:hehadhadn’the.Baker:Fordoingnothing.Hoddinott:nothing.Baker:Hehasn’tevenbashedanyone!
Baker felt personally slighted that Moore’s Niche Security had control of so many doors. “I didn’t realise Clive had sneaked in and almost took over all of Bristol by doing nothing. He hasn’t even bashed anyone,” Baker was secretly recorded telling Adam Hoddinott, his right-hand man.
At first, Baker tried to rescue Chasers by introducing the owner, Sellars, to club entrepreneurs Jeremy Gordeno from London and Jerome O’Malley from Leeds. But their plans to invest fell through leaving Sellars bankrupt and desperate for money.
In May 2017, Baker and Hoddinott tried a very old-fashioned gangster approach to making some quick cash out of Sellars’ misfortune. They threatened to burn down the home and kill the family of the boss of the Miaris Group, which had recently bought one of Sellars’ failed clubs.
Hoddinott demanded £20,000, which he falsely claimed was outstanding to Sellars. The businessman refused and reported the extortion to Avon & Somerset police. It spurred the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit to take a proper look at Baker and Hoddinott. Their cars were bugged and detectives followed the pair up and down the M4.
The extensive surveillance between May 2017 and March 2018, and the Cable’s investigation, uncovered a much wider extortion racket which subjected communities in the South West to fear and intimidation.
If I was opening one I’d be looking for permission
No smoke without fire
They say there’s no smoke without fire, and of late there’s been a lot of fire in the South West. In the past four years alone at least six tattoo parlours and barbershops in the Bristol and Bath area have been burnt down, had windows shattered by gunfire or their owners assaulted with knuckle-dusters.
“If I was opening one I’d be looking for permission,” a police source told the Cable. Permission from who was the question we set out to answer.
There were no clues among the ashes of Ink Sanity tattoo parlour in Stockwood. One August evening in 2015, a Citroen car was rammed into the shop causing £100,000 in damage. The couple upstairs managed to escape before the building went up in flames.
He’s like a fucking shit storm, everywhere he goes, shit happens
"It was a professional operation, targeting premises for reasons that were never disclosed or discovered," said the judge as he gave seven years each to Liam Collins and Justin Jones, two tight-lipped thugs from Wales.
Then, two incidents during one August night in 2017 yielded the first clue. Bodybuilder admitted burning down Morris barbershop in Saltford and pouring petrol through the letterbox of the recently opened Just Good Tattoos in Bath.
Waugh never said on whose orders he was acting but the 30-year-old was easily linked to , the right hand man of Andy Baker. By now, the bugs in their cars were yielding good intelligence and detectives watched as the pair visited various tattoo parlours on their daily rounds.
“He’s like a fucking shit storm, everywhere he goes, shit happens,” was how one tattooist described Baker’s propensity for extortion and violence. Adding that Waugh would have been “a fucking idiot to rat” on the Cornerman.
A rival security boss agreed. “[Baker’s] got a lot of real heavy boys around him. Some of them have just come out of prison. Some of them have got reputations for shooting people. And they’re the ones who do a lot of the dirty work.”
One tattooist who came face to face with the heavies was Will Holloway. Two men in balaclavas broke into his tattoo shop in Longwell Green, set about him with knuckle-dusters and poured petrol over his legs before setting the shop alight. The business collapsed and Holloway recovered then relocated.
He wouldn’t speak to the Cable. But a source close to these events said that after the attack Baker tried to set up a meeting with Holloway’s famous father, a former Bristol Rovers midfielder, who knew all about the Cornerman’s reputation.
Ian Holloway was the former manager of Queens Park Rangers and had been at Loftus Road that day in 2005 when Baker led a group of thugs who were subsequently acquitted of forcing at gunpoint QPR director Gianni Paladini to sign over his shares and resign.
Baker never got his meeting with Holloway senior, who also declined to speak to the Cable. But a source in Baker’s world said it was the Cornerman’s style to use extortion and arson to get influential people on side.
Perhaps it is not insignificant that at the time of the Holloway incident Baker was in the throws of setting up a sports management agency in Bristol.
Baker hadn’t always had a free reign in Bristol. There was one international gangster, independent of the Adams crime family, who the Cornerman had little choice but to kowtow to.
had moved out of Bristol after the Brinks Mat gold bullion robbery in 1983 made him a household name. He set up a crooked timeshare operation in Tenerife and had a big house in Essex but left his two daughters and ex-wife well looked after in Bristol.
Goldfinger had left the West Country but his reach remained and according to one of Baker’s estranged wingmen the Cornerman was warned after warring with the wrong people.
Baker, said the source, was taxing drug dealers or forcing them to buy from his sanctioned suppliers and pay a premium for protection. A refusal meant a visit from his thugs or the police. “Anyone who wasn't working with Andy, he served them up to the police,” the source claimed. It was typical grassing by criminals looking to get rid of rivals.
One day, Baker, who some called ‘the Slug’ and others ‘Top Cat’, taxed dealers who happened to be friends of Goldfinger. “John Palmer put it on Andy twice,” said the source. “Andy was taken away, John flew into the UK and told him the next time he fucking interferes he’ll be going away.”
Goldfinger’s power over Baker ended when he was assassinated in his Essex garden in 2015. By then, and through his new partner, the Cornerman was firm friends with Palmer’s daughter, Elle, and her common law husband , a chatty car dealer from Bristol.
Ginge also knew Hoddinott and appeared anxious to please Baker. The trio started an illegal debt collection agency. Ginge was not involved in the extortion attempt against the Miaris Group boss in May 2017. But over the coming months he used Palmer’s name to recover money allegedly owed by two businessmen in the building trade. One of them was threatened with “geezers from London” if he didn’t pay.
Neither businessman paid up, but they did “go old bill on” Baker which he and his driver mocked during a bugged conversation in the Toyota.
“What’s the world coming to?” the driver remarked. “You can’t even trust criminals,” Baker punch-lined.
‘He’s asked us for permission’
Hoddinott also liked to talk and the police liked to listen. During a bugged conversation with , a Plymouth gangster, in his car, Hoddinott discussed a recent approach from a tattooist wanting to open up in the Saltford area. “He’s asked us for permission. Do you know what I mean … some Romanian kiddie working for some guy … supposed to be real good.”
Woolley shared Hoddinott’s passion for motorbikes, tattoos, talking and drug dealing. They’d met in prison when Woolley was serving nine years for repeatedly stabbing a man in the back of a taxi. Hoddinott was inside for cocaine trafficking and made sure that Woolley’s dinner tray was always heaped.
On the outside, Woolley was the head of the Aquila Motorbike Club and a well-known tattoo shop owner and organiser of the annual convention in Plymouth.
None of which stopped a rival gang from firebombing his home once.
Woolley, 53, had come to Bristol to offload a big diamond ring and to collect a sample of ecstasy tablets from a pill machine capable of knocking out ninety-three a minute, which was secreted in a residential house on Newton Street in Warmley.
The seized pill press
Credit: Avon and Somerset police
Hoddinott and Waugh were also involved with Baker and Sellars in the kilo of high purity cocaine that was supplying from London. Baker had given Gordon a personal “guarantee” that Hoddinott would pay the £36,000 wholesale price once it was sold.
The only problem was the police were waiting for the deal to go down and in February and March 2018 detectives made their move and intercepted the cocaine and raided the drug factory.
Andy Baker: itwasallgoingon,veryfuckingsecretbehindpeople’sbacks,whichisagoodthing.OhfuckingchoppyJesusit’sagoodthing…becausethere’snoconspiracyandyouknowIknowtheoldbillwouldbewankinghardtopullmeinonthat.
Hoddinott immediately pled guilty to the drugs and extortion conspiracies making the prosecutions of Baker, Gordon, Sellars, Wylde and Woolley easier.
On the night of his arrest, Baker gave a strange speech to the police which left the impression that while he wasn’t going to name some names, he was in a position to trade others in return for his liberty or a lighter sentence.
“Listen, in my circle of people I stand quite high and I won’t give up anyone around me,” he told the detective. “There’s things that I know, that I do know and you know I know because I’m a cunt. I ain’t going to bullshit you, I could put on the table what I can put on the table … I’ve lived my life as a fucking man.”
Another weird example of the Cornerman’s contact with the state emerged just before his trial started at Bristol Crown Court last September. Baker was considering complaining to the judge that the prosecution were withholding his phone records because they showed that MI5 had tried to recruit him to the war on terror.
Baker told his legal team that he had rescued a young man who was being radicalised at a mosque that MI5 had under observation. The spooks, he said, came out of the shadows and asked if he would work for them. He said that he refused and the calls on his mobile would prove the approach. But in the end, no complaint was raised with the judge.
Baker was found guilty of the cocaine and extortion conspiracies and sentenced with the others on 2 December 2018. Only Ginge’s family were in the public gallery. Ellie Palmer cried into a tissue that drew attention to a big gold nugget on her necklace.
For his part, Baker sang ‘I fought the law and the law won’ as he was sent down for eleven years and six months. The Judge, no Clash fan, replied, “I couldn’t put it better myself.”
On Monday 4 February, Terry Adams was set to join Baker as a guest of her majesty for refusing to pay court costs from an earlier money laundering trial. But just two days later he paid the £50,000 fine, leaving three Adams brothers currently inside, which could make for an interesting reunion with the Cornerman.
Victims of Baker’s protection rackets fear his reach will not be hindered from behind bars. But sources say rivals are already muscling in on his patch. In the way of these things, local people will soon be asking for permission to do business, the question again, is from whom?
I fought the law and the law won
Alon Aviram and Michael Gillard
Alon Aviram, Michael Gillard, Adam Cantwell-Corn
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During his recent trial, Andy Baker, 52, claimed that efforts to become a draughtsman in the building trade were dashed by the recession in the early nineties. Like many criminals, he apprenticed as a doorman in the nightclub business where he rode the coattails of Gilbert Wynter and made contacts with influential entrepreneurs servicing the more genteel clubbers of affluent west London.
Those who worked with the Cornerman said he liked to boast of his involvement in crime, including the murders of Wynter and Nahome. His association with the Adams was another boast used to increase his reputation as he built a security empire along the M4 corridor.
Baker moved to Bideford with his first common law wife, Vanessa Heather, in the late nineties. They had a son together. Heather left Baker, apparently after catching him in bed with a stripper. In 2004 he moved to Bristol with his new partner, Kate, with whom he has six children. Heather is one of at least ten people who the Met police took into witness protection between 2003 and 2009 after giving information or evidence against Baker.
His acquittals in three major trials - for kidnap, blackmail and murder offences - may have encouraged his cocky performance at Bristol Crown Court in 2018 where he often entered the dock singing. One day, Baker was brought to court from prison shackled and in an escape suit after showing off to his barrister in front of a security guard how easy it was to slip his handcuffs.
Some associates suspected that Baker’s charmed criminal career was because he traded information with the police. A former senior police source, however, said Baker was suspected of having corrupt police contacts.
The taxman bankrupted the Cornerman after an investigation into his income tax payments from 1993 to 2013. Baker had to sell a house to pay back taxes. At the time of his arrest in March 2018 he had large five figure deposits in his bank account from well-known businessman and was renovating his family home.
Drug dealer and enforcer
Bath-based Adam Hoddinott, 48, was Baker’s main enforcer in the south west. He wanted a kilo of cocaine to sell but couldn’t pay £36,000 up front. Jon Gordon agreed to supply the cocaine because Baker said he would act as “guarantor” that Hoddinott, his “extremely muscular, twenty-stone man”, would pay.
Hoddinott was also involved in an ecstasy factory running out of a residential house in Bristol. But his loose lips were in many ways the undoing of the whole criminal network. Unlike Baker, Hoddinott talked freely about criminal activity in his car, which the police had bugged. This and surveillance led him to plead guilty. Hoddinott had 25 prior convictions for violence and drugs and had only recently finished a prison sentence for similar drugs offences.
His guilty plea meant a reduced sentence but caused Baker and Gordon serious difficulties as the prosecution no longer had to prove the conspiracy to supply cocaine had taken place. Hoddinott also pleaded guilty to blackmail with Baker of three Bristol businessman. Not the brightest of criminals, he left his name and number on a threatening voicemail to one victim.
UK organised crime group (OCG)
The A-team are an old school family-based organised crime group originally controlled by three brothers from an extended Irish Catholic family who grew up on the Barnsbury Estate in Islington, north London. Terry Adams is oldest and the nominal head of the family, but Patrick and Tommy are equally dedicated crime figures who will operate separately but together became the dominant OCG in 1990s London.
The Adams brothers started out running protection rackets, robbery and fencing stolen goods through Hatton Garden, the capital’s jewellery hub. Detectives watched Tommy outside Farringdon tube station collect what they suspected was gold bullion stolen from the £26m Brinks Mat robbery at Heathrow Airport in 1983. He was acquitted in 1985.
By the nineties, the A-team were moving vast amounts of contraband tobacco, cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy into the UK. They formed associations with other UK and international crime groups.
In 1995, the police began a sustained covert operation (codenamed Trinity) against the crime family after a shoot out with a rival Islington firm. Tommy fell first in 1998 for organising a large cannabis importation from a black cab that he used as an office and which the police had bugged.
Terry was arrested in 2003 and driven to Bristol for his arraignment because of concerns about police corruption in London. He finally pled guilty to money laundering and was jailed in 2007.
Patrick was sent down in 2016 after going on the run for shooting an associate. In 2017, Tommy was back in jail for money laundering offences and last year younger brother Michael was convicted of cheating the taxman.
The extent of the A–team’s wealth is impossible to accurately quantify but could run into tens of millions of pound. Some assets are in the names of their wives or associates, but strict financial reporting requirements make it hard for the brothers to access cash. Police intelligence files link the A-team to a number of beatings, shootings and murders but evidence has proved allusive.
Car dealer and debt collector
Andrew ‘Ginge’ Wylde, 50, is a second-hand car dealer and garage owner from Bristol. The prosecution described him as “the pleasant face” of the blackmail conspiracy with Baker and Hoddinott.
Ginge and Baker became friends in 2004 through their common law wives who went to school together in Bristol. Baker visited Ginge’s New Cheltenham Road garage almost every day.
Ginge’s common law wife, Ellie, is the daughter of John ‘Goldfinger’ Palmer, and the car dealer used the connection when trying to persuade a businessman to pay up. Another businessman was told that “geezers from London” would come up if he didn’t pay.
Ginge was furious that Baker “put him in the shit” during his evidence in the blackmail conspiracy trial in November 2018. Ginge was taken to hospital with suspected heart problems just before taking the stand. He returned the next day to give a combative performance and felt afterwards that he had torn the prosecutor “a new one”. But his barrister had to carry out acute reconstruction surgery on her client and told the jury that Baker had “used” Ginge.
Drug factory host
Carl Newman’s Warmley home was used to store the cocaine brought from London and house the ecstasy factory. Newman, 38, struggled with employment over the years, was brought up in care and became a carer for the mother of his three children. His barrister said he was “effectively a storeman”. He pleaded guilty to both the ecstasy and cocaine charges.
Scaffolder Danny Bond, 46, of Surrey also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine. Bond, another coke addict, was nicked with Justin Green at Reading services where they stopped for a loo break on the way back to London.
Former gangland lawyer
In Witness protection
David Duff was the former chairman of Hibernians Football Club and business partner of Tory party donor David Rowland. Duff was later struck off the solicitors’ roll after an unrelated conviction for mortgage fraud. On his release from prison in the early nineties, he immersed himself in moody property deals and through a Bristol licencing agent met Gilbert Wynter and Andy Baker. Duff helped Terry Adams, Wynter and Solly Nahome in the sale of the lease of the Connaught Rooms. He also provided crooked financial advice to Baker’s OCG.
However, the pair fell out in 2003 and Duff was taken into the witness protection scheme after police received intelligence of a plot to have him killed. He was debriefed about the Cornerman’s criminal activities, the disappearance of Wynter and murder of Nahome and gave evidence against Baker and three others accused of involvement in the fatal stabbing of off-duty prison guard, Aaron Chapman, in December 2002. Duff remains a protected witness.
The one-time head of the infamous Aquila Motorbike club in Plymouth, David Woolley, 54, was jailed for his involvement in the cocaine and ecstasy conspiracy. He planned to shift the drugs in Plymouth.
He was well known for running a tattoo business in the city and was the annual organiser of the Plymouth Tattoo Convention. Woolley suffered burns when his home was firebombed during a spate of arsons in the city between suspected rival gangs. He was jailed for 9 years in 2015 for repeatedly stabbing a man in the back of a Plymouth taxi.
Woolley befriended Adam Hoddinott in prison, who shared an interest in motorbikes, tattoos and drug dealing. The two worked closely together once released.
Missing, presumed dead
Gilbert Wynter was one of the Adams’ main enforcers and a key link to criminals in London’s black communities. Wynter carried a stick after claiming the police caused an injury to his leg.
He lived in Tottenham, north London but sometimes stayed at the Chelsea flat of an Adams associate near to Embargo, the nightclub on the Kings Road. Wynter claimed to be a silent partner of the club’s owners, Rusty Egan, the new romantic Dj, and landlord, Jeremy Norman. Howard Spooner bought the club out of administration in 1994 and inherited Andy Baker as a doorman. Baker was an apprentice to Wynter, who wanted to set up a door security training company.
In 1997, Wynter went to Jamaica to visit his mother and was apparently shot in the head. He survived and spent months convalescing before returning to London. The 37-year-old disappeared in March 1998. His body has never been recovered.
Justin Green, 45, of Brentwood, Essex pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine. Adam Hoddinott approached him about buying a kilo and he went to Jon Gordon, who got a guarantee from Andy Baker. Green, a coke addict with 13 convictions, was arrested at Reading service station after delivering the cocaine to Bristol. He refused to give up any names.
Drug dealer and enforcer
Jon ‘the barber’ Gordon operated in south London and Croydon. He had convictions for violence and blackmail. Baker and Gordon knew each other through door security and a shared love of Crystal Palace football club. Gordon earned his nickname from running a barbershop and for reputedly being good with a knife. He stood trial with Dorling and John Pearson in 2006 for the Chapman murder but was acquitted. Pearson was sentenced to 15 years for a related offence.
In January 2018, Gordon, 47, was observed by the police meeting with Baker at a lorry park in a M25 service station. The men were discussing the supply of one kilo of high purity cocaine to Baker’s enforcer in Bristol. Gordon was found guilty with Baker and others in September 2018.
John ‘Goldfinger’ Palmer
Gold dealer, Timeshare shark
Palmer moved from Birmingham to Bedminster where he ran Scadlyn Limited, a gold business involved in smelting some of the bullion from the Brink’s Mat heist. He was acquitted in 1987 after telling the jury that he didn’t know it was stolen.
Palmer went on to run a crooked timeshare empire in Tenerife built on fraud and terror until his conviction in 2001. The gangster associated with international criminals and had developed close links with Russian organised crime after the collapse of the Soviet republic.
He left Marnie, his beauty queen wife, and two daughters in Bristol for Christina, who he met through the timeshare business. Palmer lived with her in an Essex mansion, where in 2015 he was shot dead in the garden by a sniper. The murder remains unsolved and is the latest in a long line of killings of key figures associated with the iconic Brinks Mat heist. Essex police bungled the investigation, admitting six days after his death that Palmer, 64, had not died of a heart attack. At the time of his death Palmer was facing trial in Spain connected to his collapsed timeshare business.
In August 2017, Liam Waugh, 30, burnt down a newly opened Bath tattoo shop and a barbershop in Saltford. The bodybuilder pled guilty to both attacks and in summer 2018 was jailed for 3 years and 8 months.
Police surveillance also revealed that Waugh had been also working for Adam Hoddinott as an enforcer and drug distributor. Waugh picked up the cocaine from Green and Bond when they drove up from London. He also met with Woolley, who he knew from prison, to show samples of the ecstasy destined for Plymouth.
Enforcer in Baker’s OCG
Mark ‘Robocop’ Dorling was a former prison guard who became a doorman and enforcer for Andy Baker. His nickname was due to his physique rather than a dedication to law enforcement. A club manager who knew him said he was a very “angry” man who worked the door at Howard Spooner’s club, the Clapham Grand.
Dorling referred to himself as Baker’s “right-hand man” and collected his cash envelopes from London pubs, clubs and lap dance venues. The 38-year-old was convicted in 2006 of murdering Aaron Chapman. The prosecution case was that Baker had agreed to give Chapman a beating and sent Robocop and two others. But Chapman fought back and later died of multiple stab wounds.
Dorling told the police that Chris McCormack, a feared armed robber and former enforcer for the Adams family, was the man who had approached Baker to hurt Chapman. The prison guard’s crime was to have mistreated the best friend of McCormack’s daughter. Dorling later told the police that the beating was a favour to McCormack, who Baker wanted to impress, and was part of a wider deal to import firearms from Holland.
Dorling claims he was not present when Chapman was stabbed. His appeal against conviction was turned down and in 2015 judges also rejected a referral from the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
Former cage fighter and club owner
Matthew Sellars, 40, had got into serious financial trouble as owner of Chasers nightclub in Bristol. The chemistry and law graduate and former MMA lightweight British champion was once head doorman of the club.
Andy Baker agreed to help rescue Chasers but also saw an opportunity to take over the city’s nightclubs from a rival security firm whose boss had fallen out with Sellars over this and a jewellery shop in Bristol.
Baker introduced Sellars to influential businessman and took him to meet the Adams crime family in London. But the Conerman eventually tired of Sellars and mocked him behind his back.
Sellars, a bankrupt, helped in the cocaine conspiracy. Separately, Hoddinott and Baker tried to extort money from a Bristol businessman who had bought the lease of one of Sellars’ nightclubs.
At his trial, Sellars said he had a breakdown because of his financial predicament and blamed his choice of friends for subsequent actions. His barrister told the judge that from 2010 to 2013 Sellars was in the UK Special Forces Reserves based in Newport but never deployed in action.
Michael Warman burnt down the barbershop in Saltford with Liam Waugh. On the same night in August 2017, Waugh firebombed a Bath tattoo parlour but Warman denied having any involvement. Warman was found guilty of the barbershop arson and of possessing an illegal weapon – a stun gun disguised as a torch.
Solly Nahome, a jeweller in Hatton Garden, laundered the Adams family’s money through a variety of investments with varying success. Operation Trinity had placed a bug in the offices of his company, Pussy Galore. However, a well-placed police source said the bug suddenly went dead, leading detectives to suspect a corrupt cop or cops had tipped off Nahome. The bug had previously captured several detectives offering help to Terry Adams, according to a 2002 Met police intelligence report on corruption in the force.
Nahome, 48, kept most of the financial information on the Adams’ money in his head. In November 1998 he was shot dead outside his north Finchley home where he lived with his wife, Joanna. The couple were close friends of Terry and Ruth Adams.
Bugs in Terry Adams’ home revealed the crime boss was distressed at the assassination and having to locate his criminal assets. Gilbert Wynter was still missing when Nahome was killed fuelling speculation about a fall out within the Adams family. Alternatively, it was suggested that Wynter and Nahome had fallen out with gangsters outside of London over a real estate deal in Lancashire.