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Woman who hid behind relationship with convicted drug trafficker to evade law is locked up for three years

A woman who hid behind her relationship with a convicted drug trafficker in order to evade prosecution for her own offences has been jailed for three years.

Sinead Lavelle
Sinead Lavelle

Sinead Lavelle, of Offmore Road, Kidderminster, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine after a four-week trial in December last year.

Four men, including her partner Gareth Pegler of Saxon Way, Wychbold, were convicted of drug related offences during the same trial and subsequently sentenced to a total of more than 26 years in prison.

The other men were Mighele Massey, of Stourbridge Road, Dudley; Karl Browning, of Hurcott Road, Kidderminster and Darren Pegler, of Coronation Way, Kidderminster.

Lavelle, 34, was sentenced at Hereford Crown Court last Friday.

Judge Martin Jackson said in his summing up that although she may not have been a totally willing participant she was at the very least turning a blind eye, having previously said about Gareth Pegler "he does what he does".

Lavelle was told: "You stayed and rekindled a relationship with a partner who is a professional criminal so there has to be a price to pay."

Her role in the enterprise involved collecting drugs, paying those involved and was present on some of the drugs trips including at times with her children.

Detective Sergeant Gareth Evans said: "Wives and partners often try and hide behind the relationship claiming a lack of knowledge in an attempt to evade prosecution, as Sinead Lavelle did in this case.

"She assisted with the enterprise and benefited from both the profits and the lifestyle.

"As a result of her involvement and sentence her children are now faced with the unfortunate situation where both parents are absent and serving sentences in prison.

"Anyone who involves themselves in criminality, or turns a blind eye to benefit from the profits, will be actively pursued by West Mercia Police - so before you do consider the consequences ask yourself if it is really worth it."

The four men were jailed for their role in supplying drugs within Worcestershire – and as far away as Devon.

Gareth Pegler, Massey and Browning were all involved in supplying cocaine between 2018 and 2020, with some deals involving over 20kg.

Gareth Pegler, Darren Pegler and Browning were also involved in the cultivation and supply of cannabis.

The four were arrested across 2020 and subsequently charged. Gareth Pegler, of Saxon Way, Wychbold, was charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine, three counts of conspiracy to produce cannabis and handling a stolen car. He pleaded guilty and was jailed for 14 years.

Massey was charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine. He also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven years and nine months in prison.

Browning was charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine and conspiracy to produce cannabis. He was found guilty and jailed for four years.

Darren Pegler was charged with conspiracy to produce cannabis. He was also found guilty and sentenced to 12 months.

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