Bielby woman denies spending stolen money

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A FEMALE haulage company boss from Bielby allegedly helped her husband launder up to £477,000 spending it on cars, holidays and homes after he stole £1m from the Manchester criminal underworld.

Mother-of-two Derry E. Priestley, 48, went on holidays to Spain, Holland, and Australia and even had a £230,000 luxury yacht in the Lake District named after her, called “Derry Ellen”, by her husband. He used the luxury Sealine S480 motor cruiser to hide from a gang looking for him, a jury were told.

Mrs Priestley allegedly visited him on the yacht in a Cumbrian marina which he bought with banker’s drafts and cash while on the run. He bought her a £5,000 diamond white gold pendant from a Harrogate jeweller and a £32,000 six series BMW for her to drive after she reported him missing to the police.

Crown barrister Timothy Capstick told a jury at Hull Crown Court her joint bank account, personal bank account and company bank account received significant cash deposits after her husband absconded with the cash in January 2008. He said, while in hiding, Dean Priestley bought a £162,000 stone cottage in Cranford Place, Wilsden, Bradford, a £16,000 Land Rover, two £23,000 Audi A3s and loaded his sons’ bank accounts with stolen money - giving one son his own Audi A3.

International haulage driver Dean Priestley, 47, of Old Mill, Bielby, pleaded guilty at Hull Crown Court in March to a charge of conspiring to convert criminal property.

His wife, the boss of DES International Haulage in Bielby, has always denied the charge of conspiracy to convert criminal property. Mrs Priestley has gone on trial saying she had split with her husband when he came into money.

Crown barrister Timothy Capstick told the jury: “We say there is a cross over between the work that each of them did.

“We say in the latter part of 2007 and early 2008 Dean Priestley was approached by a group of men who were criminals based in the Manchester area. He was asked to transport a significant sum of money, perhaps as much as £1m out of the country. Having picked up the money, Dean Priestley did not take it out of the country. Instead he kept it for himself and began distributing it between members of his family.

“There was a boat purchased for £230,000, property was purchased in Bradford for £16,000, £80,000 was spent on four motor vehicles and £5,000 was spent on a pendant. That gives a total of £477,000.”

He said this had to be contrasted with the financial loss being made by DES International Haulage Ltd in 2007 and Mrs Priestley’s own tax return filed in 2008-2009 showing her income as £300. Mr Priestley had not filed a tax return declaring his income since 2004.

Mr Capstick said Dean Priestley, along with his sons James Priestley, 23, Nathan Priestley 22, and nephews Simon Taylor, 35, and Christopher Taylor, 32, had all pleaded guilty to conspiring to convert criminal property between 1 January 2008 and 30 June 2008. Only his wife denied the charge.

Mr Capstick said Mrs Priestley also faces a charge of converting criminal property by trying to sell the £32,000 BMW for £28,000 despite it being the subject a court restraining order which had been served on her.

Mrs Priestley also denies a charge of attempting to convert criminal property by trying to sell the Sealine Motor Cruiser bought in Ambleside for £140,000. At the time, in April 2009, the boat was subject of a court restraining order.

The trial continues.