team of stooges | 

One-legged mechanic and ‘bossy’ mum among five who plotted to fix drugs kingpin’s trial

Leslie Allen (66) recruited a team to help him get off charges of having £150,000 of cannabis and cocaine and a pepper spray in 2018.

Car assembly line operative Damien Drackley arrives at the Old Bailey, London© PA

Mark Walker arrives at the Old Bailey, London© PA

General view of the Warwickshire Justice Centre in Leamington Spa.© PA

By Emily Pennink, PA Old Bailey CorrespondentPA Media

A drugs kingpin, a nobbled juror, his mother, a one-legged mechanic and a winking witness called Del Boy are facing jail for attempting to fix a trial.

Leslie Allen, 66, recruited a team of stooges to help him get off charges of having £150,000 of cannabis and cocaine and a pepper spray in 2018.

The plot backfired after other jurors in the Warwick Crown Court case became suspicious of juror Damien Drackley’s behaviour as they deliberated on verdicts.

They reported him to the judge who went on to convict Allen without the jury and jail him for 13 years.

After a trial at the Old Bailey, Allen, Drackley, 37, Mark Walker, 57, who was known as “Walker the one-legged mechanic”, and Laurence “Del Boy” Hayden, 53, were found guilty of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Mark Walker arrives at the Old Bailey, London© PA

Drackley’s “bossy” mother Lorraine Frisby, 55, from Birmingham, had admitted the charge and a sixth alleged conspirator Daniel Porter, also from Birmingham, died before the trial.

Prosecutor Tony Badenoch KC had described Allen, from Coventry, as a “major drugs wholesaler” who had the means and motive to evade justice.

In 2016, a kilo of cocaine with a street value of £100,000 was seized from his Jaguar car, and £50,000 of cannabis stuffed in laundry bags was found at his house, as well as pepper spray in a desk drawer.

Allen was caught on his own CCTV system carrying the laundry bags full of drugs.

Ahead of his trial in November 2018, Drackley, from Nuneaton, was randomly selected to be juror number one.

In breach of jury rules, he told his mother in Birmingham about the case within an hour and a half of the first day’s evidence.

She then acted as a go-between to broker a deal with Allen and middleman Walker for her son to receive £5,000 to fix the trial.

At the time, Allen was on bail, and he also persuaded Hayden and Porter to lie for him in court, it was alleged.

Hayden, from Coventry, who was known as Del Boy, appeared to give the game away by nodding and winking at Drackley as he walked to the witness box, to the puzzlement of other jurors.

General view of the Warwickshire Justice Centre in Leamington Spa.© PA

Porter, also from Coventry, who had previous convictions for 96 offences, took the rap for Allen’s crime by claiming the drugs were his, it was alleged.

Jurors heard a stream of incriminating communication with Frisby recorded on Drackley’s mobile phone on a app he had set up for an unrelated reason to do with an ex-girlfriend.

Two days before the jury began deliberating on verdicts, Walker called Frisby for just over seven minutes, after which Frisby called Drackley, the court heard.

Frisby told her son she had spoken to Allen, who promised to “sort” him out with “a lot more than” membership of a gym.

She told him: “Mr Allen said it makes him feel a bit better to know he’s got a face on the jury.”

When the jury went out, Drackley put himself forward to be the foreman but was rejected by all but one of the other 11 members.

Fellow juror Dominyk Maggs told the court that Drackley argued aggressively to acquit Allen.

Mr Maggs told the Old Bailey: “He basically said that it was all made up, it was a complete load of rubbish, the prosecution, none of it made sense, none of the facts made sense so (Allen) was not guilty.”

On the second day of deliberations, Drackley maintained it was “not guilty, not guilty” and “nothing is going to change my mind”.

Mr Maggs said: “He pulled his hood up and slumped in his chair and said he was not participating any more.”

During the discussions, Drackley let slip that he knew the area where Allen lived and jurors alerted the judge.

Describing the atmosphere, Elizabeth Jones, who was the jury foreperson, said: “It was awful. It was awful. It was toxic. We were very stressed and worried.

“We didn’t want to do the wrong thing. We wanted to do the right thing and didn’t expect anything like this at all.”

Car assembly line operative and wheeler-dealer Drackley later admitted two charges of breaching jury rules.

He had a previous conviction relating to providing false paperwork to police to get away with using a vehicle while uninsured.

Giving evidence at the Old Bailey, he insisted he was set on clearing Allen by “reasonable doubt” from the first day of the trial.

He accepted he should not have spoken to Frisby about the case but said: “It was my mum. Some way or another she would have got it out of me.”

He denied there was ever an agreement to get paid to sway the jury in Allen’s favour.

Walker declined to give evidence in his trial, Hayden and Allen had both failed to attend their trial.

The court was told Hayden had a previous conviction for interfering with justice when he put pressure on a complainant to drop a case against his partner’s son, saying: “I’ll have you smashed up.”

On Thursday, the Old Bailey jury found the defendants unanimously guilty of plotting to pervert the course of justice.

Mr Justice Cavanagh adjourned sentencing until a date in the New Year.

Today's Headlines

More Courts

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos