Former EDL boss jailed for mortgage fraud

The former leader of the English Defence League went to prison yesterday knowing his life will now be in danger every second he is behind bars

Friday, 24th January 2014, 9:00 am
L13-274 Tommy Robinson, Stephen Lennon, leader of the EDL, just out of prison. Sally-anne Stewart JR 10 6.3.13

Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, 31, who founded the EDL, is now a marked man, reviled by his former associates in the right wing group as well as Islamist fanatics, Al-Shabab.

Yaxley-Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson, was jailed for a total of 18 months for his part in a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain two mortgages amounting to £162,000.

He made two loans to people wanting to buy property and then pointed them towards a bent woman mortgage broker who helped obtain phoney pay slips and income details.

The court heard the thirty one year old father of three will have to spend his time in custody in solitary confinement because he is now in danger.

His barrister Charles Sherrard QC said that in January 2013 when Yaxley-Lennon was jailed for 10 months for using someone else’s passport to travel to the USA, he had spent the whole time in solitary and was moved to four different jails for his safety.

“Even in solitary he was regarded as being in danger,” said Mr Sharrard.

Since last autumn when he announced he had left the EDL, citing increasingly racist elements within the group, he has now been alienated by the followers in the organisation he once led.

Yaxley-Lennon founded the EDL in 2009 after five Muslim men demonstrated in Luton against a homecoming parade by the Royal Anglian Regiment.

Mr Sherrard said that: “He has alienated another large part of the community who saw him as their leader.”

That meant, said the barrister, that Yaxley-Lennon would again have to spend his time away from other prisoners.

“He is on a wanted list for Al-Shabab so the prospect of prison for him takes on another level,” said Mr Sherrard.

The court heard how in the past, while still the leader of the EDL, Yaxley-Lennon’s home had been attacked and he and his family moved to a safe house.

Yesterday at St Albans crown court he appeared for sentence having earlier pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud offences.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiring with others to obtain a mortgage by misrepresentation from the Abbey and Halifax building societies.

Judge Andrew Bright QC hearing the case, described Yaxley-Lennon as the “instigator if not the architect” of some of the frauds.

Passing sentence, the judge told him “This was an operation which was fraudulent from the outset and involved a significant amount of forward planning.”

Yaxley-Lennon will serve half the 18 month sentence behind bars before he is released.

He described the former EDL leader as a “fixer” by introducing others to bent mortgage broker Deborah Rothschild.

“I am satisfied you took part in a thoroughly dishonest course of conduct.”

The judge said he realised that any prison sentence he passed would be much harder for “Yaxley-Lennon” because of the need to protect him and the fact that he will have to serve it in solitary confinement.

With him in the dock was Steven Vowles, 26, of Heron Drive, Bushmead, Luton, who admitted conspiring with others to obtain a mortgage by misrepresentation and transferring criminal property. He also admitted possessing 3.48 grams of cocaine with intent to supply and being concerned in the supply of class A drugs.

Vowles had been a one time apprentice at Yaxley-Lennon’s plumbing business.

Lisa Moore, 28, of Newbury Lane, Silsoe, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obtain a mortgage by fraudulent misrepresentation.

Mortgage Broker Deborah Rothschild, 44, of Poplar, Toddington, pleaded guilty to four charges of conspiring to commit fraud by false representation. The charges involved the obtaining of four mortgages.

Finally, Anjee Darcy, 31, of Hardwick Green, Luton, pleaded guilty to two offences of conspiring to commit fraud by misrepresentation. and false accounting.

Judge Andrew Bright QC was told how Yaxley-Lennon had made loans totalling £40,000 to Vowles and later Moore to help them with the deposits for a property in Luton.

But he also introduced them to crooked mortgage broker Deborah Rothschild who specialised in helping people obtain a mortgage who wouldn’t normally be eligible because of insufficient income and capital.

Rothschild, the mother of a two year old son, assisted Moore, Vowles and Darcy in their fraudulent applications by providing phoney pay slips and income details.

The fraudulent mortgages she obtained came to a total of £640,000.

She was jailed for 18 months, Vowles was jailed for 27 months and Darcy was given a 15 month sentence suspended for 18 months and told she must carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

Moore was given a six month prison sentence suspended for 18 months and told she must carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and pay costs of £1500.