As we reach the halfway point of 2023, we have once again seen a huge number of people come through our justice system. Be it for the "terrifying" crook who left victims shaking with fear in their own homes to criminal gang lords being brought down, there have been a whole spectrum of crimes in June 2023.
We've seen a man high on drugs subject his best friend to a terrifying ordeal at knifepoint, before murdering him, running him over and trying to flee the country. There has been a rapist who controlled his victim by threatening to kill her, and brothers who stole multiple cars and chopped them up for cash.
We've also seen a crazed and obsessive killer strangle a woman and then try to dump her body, along with another killer who purchased a knife online to murder his victim.
Below is a list of all of these criminals and their crimes which have landed them with substantial time behind bars.
The organised crime boss extradited from Thailand
Richard Wakeling, 55, from Brentwood, being arrested in Bangkok, Thailand. He has now been extradited to the UK and jailed (Image: PA)
Richard Wakeling, 55, from Brentwood, arrived back in the country on Thursday evening and appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday afternoon (June 2).
The National Crime Agency (NCA) said that he was immediately jailed for 11 years after being convicted in his absence. The NCA said Wakeling was found guilty of trying to import £8 million worth of amphetamine suspended in liquid in 2016, but fled the UK on the eve of his trial in 2018.
At the time of his arrest, he was in possession of a passport in another identity. The NCA began its investigation into Wakeling’s organised crime group after Border Force officers stopped a truck boarding a Channel Tunnel train on April 9 2016.
The truck contained plastic drums carrying the drugs. The driver was transporting furniture from Italy but stopped at Ternat in Belgium, where phone evidence showed he was directed to collect the drugs. The NCA said the entire importation was set up by Wakeling, who was in contact with drug suppliers in the Netherlands and liaised with two other UK offenders to arrange the journey.
The brothers who stole cars and took them to chop shops
Samuel (left) and Thomas Eddleston (Image: Staffordshire Police)
Samuel and Thomas Eddleston, 29 and 28, have been sentenced to around two and a half years jail time each for breaking into cars and driving them away from Stoke-on-Trent, Cheshire and Greater Manchester.
According to StokeLive, the brothers drove five vehicles to Essex on cloned plates where they were stripped for parts. They targeted 12 high-end vehicles, including Range Rovers, Jaguars and an Audi, in a 'sophisticated' conspiracy between September and November 2021.
The Eddleston brothers took 11 of the vehicles then drove them to an Essex chop shop in a 'get-rich' scheme. The brothers were arrested at their home in Union Street, Hanley, on November 25, 2021. A search discovered a key fob and a device capable of starting cars.
One of the cars stolen by the Eddleston brothers was a £23,000 Range Rover Evoque stolen from Goms Mill Road in Longton, in the early hours of September 27, 2021. It was later seen in Acton Street, Birches Head, and was driven to Essex on cloned plates on October 5, 2021 and was later sold.
A number of stolen vehicles were found at a garage in Romford, Essex on October 12, 2021, including the Range Rover Evoque. Both defendants pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to steal and handling stolen goods. Thomas Eddleston also admitted possession of a CS canister.
The crook whose victim called 999 on him mid-burglary
Damian Mills, of no fixed abode, Southend
Damian Mills, of no fixed abode, Southend, was jailed for six years and nine months after he was sentenced at Basildon Crown Court on June 9 after he pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary at an earlier hearing.
The 32-year-old forced his way into a property in Leigh shortly before midnight on January 26, when he was armed with a kitchen knife and a Stanley knife and demanded money from the victim and his family.
While Mills searched the house, he was unaware that one of the occupants, in bed upstairs, had called 999. When police arrived just 20 minutes later, Mills was arrested in the garden of the property. No money had been taken, although Mills was found to be in possession of the victim's mobile phone and had a hammer concealed in his clothing.
The controlling rapist who threatened to kill his victim
(Image: Essex Police)
Thomas Thorpe-Keen, 23, of Heybridge, has been sent to prison for 14 years. Thorpe-Keen, of Creasen Butt Close, came to the attention of detectives following concerns about his relationships with underage girls.
He was given a Sexual Risk Order and Criminal Behaviour Order which held a number of conditions - including not allowing him to be in the unsupervised company of anyone under the age of 18, which he breached continuously.
Thorpe-Keen targeted the 15-year-old victim and started a relationship with her. He stalked, coerced and controlled the young girl, watching for when she could be home alone and raped her multiple times throughout the relationship.
He was arrested after he had raped the victim, left the address and then broken back into the property through the living room window before threatening to kill her. Enquiries showed that he had called the victim over 100 times and waited outside her address before leaving the area, eventually being arrested in the North of England a few days later.
The man who tried to murder someone by stabbing him in the neck
Curtis Butler (Image: Essex Police)
Curtis Butler has been locked up after launching a vicious attack and attempted murder in a street in Westcliff. Butler, 23, of Great Gregorie, Basildon, was convicted in April of stabbing his victim in Valkyrie Road shortly after midnight on October 30, 2021.
The victim, a man in his 20s, had been walking with friends over the bridge between Station Road and Valkyrie Road when Butler, wearing a balaclava, approached him, said something to him, and stabbed him.
After he fell to the floor, Butler stabbed the victim again in his neck and body before running off towards Station Road. One of the victim’s friends administered first aid before seeking help from nearby houses, at which point the emergency services were called.
Officers helped give first aid while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. The victim had sustained a collapsed lung and required life-saving surgery. Officers managed to trace Butler to a block of flats in Grovesnor Road where further witnesses provided further evidence that Butler was responsible for the attack.
Butler was arrested in April 2022 and subsequently charged with attempted murder and possession of a knife or sharp-pointed article in a public place. He denied the charge but was found guilty on April 17 following a trial at Basildon Crown Court and has now been jailed for 24 years.
The crook who terrified people in their own homes
Jerome Jean, 33, of Dericote Street, London (Image: Essex Police)
Jerome Jean, 33 of Dericote Street, London appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court on June 14 after pleading guilty to aggravated burglary and possession of class B drugs.
Shortly before 9pm on January 23, Essex Police were called to reports of an aggravated burglary on London Road in Abridge. Three men forced entry into a house on the street, where the victims were at home.
One of the men held a large knife to the victim's neck and demanded money. The attackers then stole a designer handbag before leaving the house. The victims were shaken but had not been harmed, police confirmed.
Officers found blood at the scene, which was matched with Jean's blood. They also found that Jean's phone had been in the Abridge area at the time of the attack. Jean was arrested on February 14 at his home in London, and was further arrested for possession of cannabis, a class B drug.
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The obsessive man who followed his neighbour to the UK, killed her and dumped her body
(Image: Metropolitan Police)
This is the face of a jealous man who murdered a woman he was so obsessed with that he followed her from Pakistan to the UK. Muhammad Arslan, 27, of Ilford, was found guilty of killing Hina Bashir, 21, after a trial at the Old Bailey.
Arslan forced a patterned face mask into the mouth of Ms Bashir after she visited his shared flat on the border of Essex and London last July. Arslan claimed he had only meant to quieten her after he confronted her over naked photographs of her that he had been sent.
The prosecution rejected his explanation as “elaborate and concocted” and asserted he had killed her out of anger and jealousy. Arslan admitted manslaughter on the first day of his trial but denied murder and perverting the course of justice by concealing Ms Bashir’s body.
The man who murdered his best friend
Rakar Rahimi (Image: Essex Police)
Rakar Rahimi has been locked up for life for cruelly stabbing his friend Bako Azad Sheikha to death in Colchester. Mr Sheikha, 22, had come to the UK from Iraq to build a new life and be safe, but Rahimi, 23, murdered him following a row in September last year.
Chelmsford Crown Court previously heard how Bako had been ordered out of the flat he shared with Rahimi at knifepoint, before being stabbed multiple times and left for dead in Distillery Lane on September 12.
Rahimi, who denied murder but was convicted by a jury on Wednesday (June 21), threw the murder weapon away and then drove away from the scene in Mr Sheikha's car, and attempted to flee to France before he was stopped and arrested in Dover. Mr Sheikha tragically did not survive his wounds and died at the scene.
The shop worker who exchanged sweets for sex
(Image: Essex Police)
Christopher White, 37, was said to give his victims sweets, cigarettes and alcohol in exchange for sexual activity.
White, of Mill Lane in Birch, was sentenced to 14 years in prison at Chelmsford Crown Court after being found guilty of several sexual offences against children. An investigation into White after it was reported that he had been sexually exploiting young girls whilst working in a shop in Layer De Haye between 2007 and 2009.
The victims, who were children at the time, met White when they would visit the shop he worked in Layer de la Haye. White was in his 20s at the time of the offences.
After his arrest in 2019, he was charged with two counts of rape of a child under 13, one count of sexual assault of a child under 13, one count of sexual assault of a child over 13, two counts of sexual activity with a child under 13 and one count of sexual activity with a child over 13.
He was remanded into custody. On May 19, he was found guilty of all offences. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison. White must serve at least nine years and four months before being eligible for parole.
The gang boss who smuggled fugitives out of the UK
Gang leader Mohammed Hossain from Woodford Green (Image: NCA)
Mohammed Mokter Hossain, aged 54, of Gaynes Hill Road, Woodford Green, was arrested in May 2021 after the National Crime Agency snared him using surveillance and undercover tactics.
The investigation – codenamed Operation Symbolry – has now dismantled the London-based crime group operated by Hossain, who used a network of complicit lorry drivers to move people in both directions across the Channel. These included a number of fugitives who were seeking to leave the UK as they were wanted for serious crimes such as child abuse and murder.
Hossain co-ordinated the movements of drivers and arranged for taxis to drop off migrants at their pick-up locations. Following his arrest a ledger was found outlining details of the hundreds of men, women and children who had used his services. It also noted the amounts he had charged them.
The murderer who bought his weapon online with a fake ID
Emadh Miah has been convicted of murder (Image: Met Police)
Emadh Miah, 18, of the West Midlands, killed Sadiq in Leytonstone on August 6 last year. Miah, who was 17 at the time, travelled from Birmingham to London on August 4 and is believed to have been in possession of at least one 15-inch Rambo-style knife that he had bought online using a false name fake ID.
The killer took a train to Stratford where he hired a bike and then made his way to Leytonstone. He was seen pulling his hood up, wearing gloves and using a surgical mask to conceal his face when he made his way to the street that Ghulam, 18, lived and then waited.
When Ghulam arrived, he was also on a bike. Miah took out a knife and Ghulam cycled off. Miah continued to wait for Ghulam and when he returned a short while later Miah ran after him and stabbed him in the back. Miah then went back to his bike and cycled off.
Miah had taken steps to evade detection, he had turned off his phone prior to travelling to the scene and the clothing and knife were never recovered. Miah was located in Walsall on August 9 and arrested on suspicion of murder before being charged.
At court, he admitted manslaughter but pleaded not guilty to murder. However, the jury found him guilty of murder. Miah was also sentenced in relation to a separate incident that took place in 2021.
The man found with a huge knife at a train station
Suwilanji Siwale was jailed just 24 hours after being found with a knife (Image: British Transport Police)
Suwilanji Siwale was seen looking "nervous" by a ticket inspector who became suspicious and detained him, finding the enormous weapon within his clothing.
The 21-year-old of Heronsgate, Frinton on Sea, has now admitted possession of an article with blade or point in a public place following the incident on Thursday June 21 this year. Magistrates at North Essex Magistrates Court gave him a 26 week prison sentence - six and a half months.
The court heard how on June 22, Siwale was spoken to by a Revenue Inspector at Chelmsford Railway Station regarding his lack of valid travel ticket, and officers’ suspicions were raised by his nervous behaviour. He was then detained and searched, and a concealed knife was found in his waist band.