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News of raids, prosecutions, robberies, assaults etc from the world of punting

 


Tycoon cleared of hitman allegation

Published in The Argus
3rd July 2001


East Sussex
A businessman who fell in love with a £500-a-time prostitute has been cleared of trying to have her father killed by a hitman. Wealthy Ian Howie, 48, was alleged to have asked for Alan Thompson to be shot along with his call girl daughter Nicola Richardson.

A jury at the trial at Lewes Crown Court will continue considering its verdict today into whether Howie tried to have Miss Richardson killed.

The trial heard the property tycoon was alleged to have told an undercover policeman posing as a hitman: "I just want her off the face of the earth". He was accused of ordering her to be shot at her parents' home and asking for Mr Richardson to be killed because "it would be cleaner." Howie, of Davigdor Road, Hove, denies the charges against him.

The millionaire allegedly became "obsessed" with Miss Richardson after meeting her in 1997 when he paid £500 a time for sex. The court heard he showered her with gifts during their three-year relationship, including cars, items of diamond jewellery and homes. But the volatile fling hit problems when he attacked her after accusing her of enjoying a sex romp on a beach in Barbados with another man, the jury was told.

It was claimed his murderous scheme was revealed when an associate tipped off police and an undercover officer posed as a hitman. He allegedly offered £5,000 to kill his ex-lover, but the jury cleared him of soliciting to murder her father by offering a further £2,500 for him to be shot.

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Man denies call girl murder plot

Published in The Argus
28th June 2001


East Sussex
A wealthy businessman told a jury he would never have planned to have his prostitute ex-girlfriend killed because he loved her. Ian Howie, 48, is accused of hiring a hitman to kill Nicola Richardson and her father, Alan Thompson, after his affair with the prostitute turned sour.

The jury at Lewes Crown Court has heard how Howie, a Brighton property landlord, fell in love with the £500-a-time call girl and had a three-year volatile relationship.

Howie, of Davigdor Road, Hove, denies two charges of soliciting to murder. He told the court he loved Miss Richardson and had no motive to want her dead. He said: "Since the day I met her I have been in love with her. I have always been in love with her."

During cross-examination, Simon Russell-Flint, prosecuting, suggested to Howie the motive for murder was driven by his obsession with Miss Richardson and jealousy because she had ended the relationship. She made it plain she wanted no more to do with him.  Howie denied it was true. He said: "It was totally the opposite to that."

The jury had earlier been told how Howie became a client of Richardson, a mother of two, in September 1997 and fell in love with her. He showered her with gifts, including cars, a flat in Hastings and jewellery. He also took her on expensive holidays and funded her drug addiction. During their on-off relationship he is also alleged to have bought her a property she could run as a brothel for "pocket money".

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Hitman charge: Court told of 'obsession'

Published in The Argus
22nd June 2001


East Sussex
The father of a prostitute at the centre of an alleged hitman plot told a jury his daughter's lover was "obsessed" by her. Businessman Ian Howie is accused of trying to hire an assassin to kill high-class call girl Nicola Richardson and her father, Alan Thompson. Howie, 48, a Brighton property landlord, had fallen in love with the £500-a-time prostitute but their relationship was very "on-off", the court heard.

The prosecution alleges Howie tried to hire a hitman to kill his lover and Mr Thompson for £7,500. But the plan came to light when an associate tipped off police and an undercover officer posed as the hitman, it was claimed.

Mr Thompson told a jury at Lewes Crown Court yesterday: "Ian had an open relationship with Nicola where she could see whoever she wished. He had an open marriage and he could go out with whoever he wished." But he described the relationship between Howie, of Davigdor Road, Hove, and mother-of-two Nicola as "hot and cold every five minutes".

He said: "One minute they would be getting married and the next they were fighting and it was all off and he would phone me up at all hours saying this and that. Their way was to see each other when it was convenient for her. It wasn't a stable relationship, ever. He arranged to take her on holiday several times but a lot of them were cancelled."

The court heard it was Howie who told Mr Thompson his daughter was working as a call girl.

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