Crime boss Eugene Price thought he was untouchable - now he's serving 25 years in prison (From St Helens Star)
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Crime boss Eugene Price thought he was untouchable - now he's serving 25 years in prison
10:23am Friday 20th December 2013 in News
CRIME boss Eugene Price would taunt police that he was simply too clever to get caught, remarked Judge Denis Watson when sentencing.
Price was said to have “distanced himself from hands-on drug dealing”, yet the court was told he was the man who pulled the strings and gave the orders.
The amount of drugs at the dealing den on Newton Road, Parr was kept to a minimum in case of any police raid.
But, ultimately, audio recordings and Blackberry messages intercepted by police revealed the scale of the operation and their attempts at trying to stay a step ahead of detectives.
In sentencing the crime gang to almost 100 years, Judge Watson said: “Class A drugs such as heroin and cocaine wreck lives, fuel crime, break up families and cause death.
“You were all aware of the misery you were peddling and since all of you were arrested the general level of crime in St Helens has fallen significantly.
“All of you, to different degrees, were in it for yourselves, for money and cheap drugs.”
The families of the defendants attended court for sentencing with many unable to control their emotions.
As each was sentenced, many left the courtroom in floods of tears.
Judge Watson, meanwhile, paid tribute to the officers involved in a long and complex investigation.
Detective Superintendent Richie Salter, who led the inquiry, said the sentences reflected the severity of the offences.
He said: “These people had access to firearms and were not afraid to use them. They had a complete disregard for the safety and lives of others.
“When you look at the photographs of the damage caused by shots fired at a caravan parked on the driveway of a house on Leonard Street it really brings home the complete disregard that these people have for the lives of others – at the time of the shooting a five-year-old child was asleep on the bed.
“We are so fortunate that the child or others who were in the caravan were not seriously injured, or killed.
“The drugs they supplied, with the help of others, will have caused untold misery in communities in and around St Helens.
“It is a circle of misery that serious criminals like these care nothing about. As long as they can line their pockets with the profits they make, they don't care about the consequences caused by the drugs they deal.
“These people through their use of violence caused fear in their local community, but hopefully the results show that we can do something to stop these people from terrorising our streets.
“Since these people were arrested, members of the community have come forward and spoken to us and residents have also said that it has been much quieter and they feel safer and it is really encouraging that people now have the confidence to come forward and to speak to us.
“We can do everything within our power to build up the evidence and take these types of people off the streets before they become a major problem.”
NINE members of a crime gang which terrorised communities have been jailed for a combined total of more than 100 years.
Eugene Price led the gang behind the drugs operation – which brought in one million pounds through sales of cocaine and heroin – and its main players waged a fierce turf war with a rival traveller family, the Maughans, to ensure they kept a grip on the supply chain.
After police raids forced them to switch bases, the criminal network finally settled on a property on Newton Road, Parr, dealing with around 100 callers a day and raking in large sums.
The house’s tenant was 58-year-old Norman Worrall, part of the supply network.
But members of the gang were placed under police surveillance, and audio recordings were used to determine what role each had in the organisation.
Set against the background of their drug operation, the leading members of the gang were embroiled in a turf war with the Maughans.
And it was this violence that led to Price along with his lieutenants Christopher Lunt and David Doolan, being convicted of conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life, conspiracy to commit arson and conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
They were sentenced to 25, 21 and 18 years in prison respectively.
The intimidation involved flashpoints in February 2012 when gunshots were fired at a house on Derbyshire Hill Road and at a caravan on Leonard Street, where a sleeping five-year-old boy was showered in glass.T
hey also plotted arson attacks at Leonard Street, Sutton, on July 31 2011, Waring Avenue, Parr, on February 13, 2012, Coronation Road, Windle, on February 21, 2012 and Ann Street West, Widnes, on March 30, 2012.
David Birrell prosecuting told the court: “The overall effect of what was happening had a significant impact on the majority of citizens of St Helens.”
Five others – Christopher Kendall, Norman Worrall, Debbie Ballard, Stephen Finney and Mark Jervis – were convicted of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
Karl McGarry, of Denford Road, Liverpool, became the ninth to be sentenced at a separate hearing on Monday.
The 25-year-old was recruited to firebomb vehicles but set his head on fire as he carried out an attack.
While targeting vehicles on Leonard Street in Sutton in 2011 he was wearing a Russian-style hat which burst into flames as he set the vehicles alight.
It was still smouldering as he drove away.
He was jailed for six years and eight months for arson, conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and burglary.