- Joseph Ashman, 47, jailed for 8 years for importing 4.5 tonnes of cannabis
- Wife Mandy, 49, was ‘portrayed as a victim’ for laundering £128,000 of his
- Judge Richard Horne said she was ‘no shrinking violet’ but had sympathy
- Given a two-year suspended sentence due to depression and hip problem
Mandy Ashman, 49, laundered a total of £128,000 through her bank account for her criminal husband Joseph Ashman, 47
The wife of a drug lord who laundered part of the cash her husband made smuggling £23million worth of cannabis has walked free from court because of her health problems.
Mandy Ashman, 49, laundered a total of £128,000 through her bank account as husband Joseph Ashman, 47, headed of network based in Rainham, Essex, who imported 4.5 tonnes of the drug. He was jailed for eight years and eight months in January last year after admitting conspiracy to supply drugs and money laundering. Twelve of his criminal network were jailed alongside him for a total of 66-and-a-half years.
In February, Ashman was sentenced to a further four years for employing his wife and sister Mary Dunn, 54, from Lewisham, to launder his cash.
Sentencing Mrs Ashman to a two-year prison term, suspended for two years, Judge Richard Hone QC told her: ‘You are portrayed as the victim of a domineering husband but having seen you over a four-week trial I formed the view you are no shrinking violet whose husband told you nothing about his criminal activities.’
He added: ‘You were content to live passively from the funds from your husband’s substantial criminal lifestyle.’‘You were, in my judgement, a more passive and distant participant in the criminal activity,’ the judge told her. He said he had intended to send her straight to jail but changed his mind after hearing of her health troubles, including Perthes disease – a hip disorder – and depression. During an Old Bailey trial the court heard Ashman also set up two fictitious firms, the Apple Cross Building Company, and Dash Haulage to make it seem like his family had a legitimate enterprise.
He denied four counts of money laundering, but was convicted after a month-long trial.
His wife was convicted of two counts of money laundering, but acquitted of a third charge, while her sister-in-law was convicted of one similar charge
Mr Ashman (pictured) was jailed for eight years and eight months in January last year after admitting conspiracy to supply drugs and money laundering the drug lord who smuggled £23 million worth of cannabis into Britain must serve an extra four years in jail for employing his wife and sister to launder his cash.
The couple’s son, Patrick Ashman, was acquitted of money laundering for paying cash into Apple Cross. Handing Ashman an extra four years in jail in February, Judge Hone said: ‘From the age of 13 you’ve been a career criminal and you seem to be proud of it.
You are no shrinking violet whose husband told you nothing about his criminal activities
Judge Richard Hone QC
‘You’ve played the high stakes and assisted with organised criminal networks.’
He continued: ‘You were unanimously convicted of four counts of money laundering over the best part of six years. ‘You were absolutely the mastermind and involved your family members and invited them into this scheme.
‘You took care to mingle contaminated money from criminal activity with legitimate income.’
‘Your previous convictions significantly aggravate your culpability. You are remorseless, greedy and acquisitive.’
Ashman was a linked to notorious drug trafficker Kevin Hanley who was jailed for more than 17 years in 2014.
A huge haul of cannabis confiscated by the National Crime Agency who followed him and his associates. They shipped in the drugs through their contacts on the freight industry
The cardboard boxes were full of cannabis, which had been carefully packed so they did not give off an overpowering aroma when being brought into the country
NCA investigators watched as Ashman met his associates at various locations to orchestrate the distribution of the drugs. Ashman and his gang shipped the drugs around the UK using their contacts on the freight industry. One by one his gang was arrested following a two year investigation by the National Crime Agency, forcing him to import smaller and smaller quantities of cannabis.
He was eventually arrested in early 2014. Ashman, from South Rainham, Essex, did not react as his sentence was read out.