Revealed: John Anslow's life of lies and luxury on the run
He's an iconic, infamous and notorious drug kingpin who led police on a merry dance, taunting them on his way.
And today the lavish, extravagant lifestyle of Tipton crook John Anslow can be revealed for the first time.
For years Anslow used his family connections to firmly establish himself as one of the most feared criminals in the country - even becoming the most wanted man in Britain.
His drug network stretched across the globe and money was never an object.
Today it can be revealed that Anslow:
- Spent £36,000 sponsoring Wolves matches and players
- Splashed thousands of pounds in cash on far-flung holidays to the Caribbean
- Went on the run after police closed in on his drugs associates and was found hiding in a caravan in Bewdley
- Taunted police with postcards inferring he was in Spain before they arrested him
- Travelled to Thailand to meet high level criminal druglords
Anslow dealt in cocaine and cannabis, with one cannabis haul having a street value of £1.1m.
After police - who bugged Anslow's flat in Bradley to uncover the scale of his drugs empire - charged him, Anslow again went on the run, escaping from a prison van and fleeing to Northern Cyprus.
That was in January 2012 and it would be more than a year later when he was deported back to the UK.
By the time he had returned the 33-year-old had been sentenced in his absence to 22 years for conspiring to supply drugs.
Reporting restrictions meant that the details of his crime could not be reported, but after Anslow was yesterday cleared of murdering Richard Deakin at Woolwich Crown Court, those restrictions were lifted.
And the scale of his glamorous lifestyle has now been revealed.
The avid Wolverhampton Wanderers fan sponsored matches and player at Molineux between 2008 and 2011 – gestures that bought him photo slots in match magazines and pitch appearances.
He even presented a man of the match award to former Wanderers defender Ronald Zubar.
Anslow regularly used chauffeurs and butlers and bought rolex watches and diamond rings worth £26,000.
He purchased top-of-the-range Audi cars and was once arrested while driving a £90,000 Porsche Panamera.
Realising he was wanted for questioning in relation to his drug empire, Anslow sent West Midlands Police a Spanish postcard in an attempt to convince detectives he'd fled to the continent.
But police didn't fall for the trick and found him lying low in a Bewdley caravan park, with around eight grams of cocaine in his possession.
In interview Anslow claimed his opulent lifestyle was the result of a winning gambling streak that netted him £500,000.
Between July 2010 and March 2011 he splashed out £24,000 on holidays to the Dominican Republic, St Lucia and Bangkok – all paid for in cash.
Investigating officer Mike Greenland today said: "Anslow hadn't declared any income to HRMC that could justify such an extravagant lifestyle.
"The reason for that is simple: the money came from drug dealing.
"Anslow will be behind bars for many years. And if he believes he can look forward to spending his vast criminal proceeds when he's eventually released he'll be in for a shock because we're looking to claw back the cash via a Proceeds of Crime application.
"John Anslow headed up an organisation that distributed drugs in the West Midlands and other parts of the United Kingdom.
"It was an extensive, organised crime gang that's also seen his associates receive lengthy custodial sentences."
Other members of his close-knit drug network were also jailed, including right-hand men Phillip Eastwood and Neil Doody.
Eastwood, from Russells Hall Road in Dudley, who was jailed for a total of 18 years for drugs supply and possessing a firearm.
Police found a handgun, silencer and 19 bullets when searching his home.
And Doody from Eagle Street in Tipton was handed a nine year nine month sentence for drugs offences.
Anslow's uncle David Harrison - previously convicted of murdering Staffordshire father-of-two Mr Deakin - was also part of the drug network and given a 12 year sentence.
And £107,900 in cash was later found at the man's home address hidden inside two safes.
Sandwell Police Chief Inspector Sean Phillips, added: "Anslow may well have been cleared of murder but members of the local community can be reassured he will serve a long prison sentence for these drugs offences.
"Local Policing in Tipton will continue as normal and will not be affected by this result.
"He liked to play the role of a kind-hearted benefactor, putting money into football clubs and funding youth projects – but this was drug money the origin of which undoubtedly caused harm in our community."
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