Tommy Robinson, former EDL leader, jailed for fraud

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Stephen Lennon, aka Tommy RobinsonImage source, Fairleys
Image caption,
Tommy Robinson has been jailed for 18 months

Former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, has been jailed for 18 months for mortgage fraud.

Robinson, 31, from Bedfordshire, who stood down from the EDL last year, was sentenced at St Albans Crown Court after pleading guilty last November.

The fraud amounted to £160,000 over a period of six months.

Robinson left the EDL in October, citing concerns over the "dangers of far-right extremism".

The court was told his life was in danger, and he would have to spend his prison time in solitary confinement.

His barrister Charles Sherrard QC said that in January 2013, when Robinson 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.

'Wanted by al-Shabab'

"Even in solitary he was regarded as being in danger," said Mr Sherrard.

Robinson co-founded the EDL in 2009 after a parade by the Royal Anglian Regiment in Luton was disrupted by Islamist protesters.

Mr Sherrard said Robinson was in even more danger now, having left the organisation.

"He has alienated another large part of the community who saw him as their leader," he said.

Robinson's safety was also at risk from members of Somali insurgent group al-Shabab, he added.

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

'Thoroughly dishonest conduct'

The court heard that Robinson's home had previously been attacked and he and his family moved to a safe house.

Judge Andrew Bright QC described him 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."

He described Robinson as a "fixer" who had introduced others to fraudulent mortgage broker Deborah Rothschild.

"I am satisfied you took part in a thoroughly dishonest course of conduct," he told him.

The judge said he realised that any sentence he passed would be much harder for Robinson because of the need to protect him.

Fake pay slips

Also in the dock was Steven Vowles, 26, of 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.

Lisa Moore, 28, of Silsoe, Bedfordshire, admitted conspiracy to obtain a mortgage by fraudulent misrepresentation.

Rothschild, 44, of Toddington, Bedfordshire, admitted four charges of conspiring to commit fraud by false representation.

A cousin of Robinson, Anjee Darcy, 31, of Hardwick Green, Luton, admitted two offences of conspiring to commit fraud by misrepresentation and false accounting.

Rothschild assisted Moore, Vowles and Darcy in their fraudulent applications by providing fake 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 ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

Moore was given a six-month sentence, suspended for 18 months. She was also ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and pay costs of £1,500.

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