A gang debt collector was jailed today for dodging penalty points in a speeding scam.
David Byron, 44, a father of three, conspired with Benjamin Rood, 41, owner of a dodgy car rental business, to avoid fixed fines after he was caught speeding in August 2016 and February 2017 Byron, of Longfellow Close, Kirkby, was driving Land Rover vehicles hired by Rood’s franchise, 4×4 Hire Liverpool, on both occasions.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that as the hire vehicles were registered with Rood’s business he was required by law to provide driver details. However, rather than Byron simply taking the points and paying the fine, WhatsApp messages recovered from Rood’s phone revealed lengthy conversations about appointing a “fall-guy”.
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This resulted in two men, Barry Sissons and James Ryan, being found guilty of speeding by a magistrates’ court and each given six penalty points and fines ranging from £600 to £900. James Rae, prosecuting, told the court that Rood and several other men were jailed for money laundering and conspiring to pervert the course of justice in May, but that Byron was not implicated in their offense anymore. wide.
During an investigation into Rood, the WhatsApp messages were obtained by police, and Byron later pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, while requesting that the incident of 2016 be considered by the court. Mr Rae said Byron had also previously been convicted of a similar offence, which earned him a suspended sentence in August 2012.
Damian Nolan, in defense, asked the court for “leniency” for his client because of his serious health problems. Mr Nolan said a report by consultant haematologist Dr Wells described how Byron had received ‘extensive treatment’ for blood cancer and was being tested regularly.
Dr Wells’ report said the condition put Byron at high risk of stroke, heart attacks and aneurysms, and that he was repeatedly told to ‘drop everything’ and get himself emergency treatment when alarming test results came back.
Mr Nolan suggested that a prison environment would risk Byron not being able to access specialist treatment as quickly as needed. He also told the court: “The defendant himself has demonstrated that he is capable of full rehabilitation. In the five years since these offenses he has obtained respectable, gainful, lucrative and dignified employment. that requires hard work and dedication.”
Mr Nolan said Byron lived close to his three young children and was a “devoted father”. The court also heard how he recently and unexpectedly lost his mother and had lived with his father since her death.
In a further blow to the defendant, Mr Nolan said he planned to marry his longtime partner Maria Symes on September 2 and hoped to be free on their wedding day. Mr Nolan said: “He’s a man who doesn’t have to say it, it would have been so much easier to just take the points. For not taking a fixed penalty notice here, he’s on the verge of a custodial sentence. It was his own stupid, reckless, impulsive behavior perhaps.”
However, Judge Denis Watson, QC, in handing down his sentence, said the previous conviction for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice was a “seriously aggravating feature”. He said he had “considered seriously” the medical evidence, but under principles established by case law he was unable to suspend the sentence.
Byron was jailed for 10 months and can be released on license halfway through.
Byron made headlines in 2015 when he stood trial for a brutal double shooting at Lance Close, Everton, which saw a man called Craig Dures shot in the face and his father, Karl Dures senior, shot in the thigh. Miraculously, Karl survived the shooting.
Detectives soon learned that the victims were being targeted due to the actions of Craig’s brother, drug dealer Karl Dures Jr., who had racked up huge debts with heavy hitters. Byron was charged with attempted murder of Craig Dures and injuring Craig and Karl snr with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, but denied being the trigger.
An extraordinary trial ensued and Byron testified admitting he was a debt collector for ‘high end’ drug dealers and was recruited as a ‘middleman’ to try to get Karl jnr to perform payments on a whopping debt of £237,000.
However, he told the jury that he was not at Lance Close at the time of the shooting and that “it wouldn’t have made sense” for him to shoot the victim as it would leave him “wide open to owe their money”. He was acquitted of all charges.
Trial judge Clement Goldstone, QC, blasted Merseyside Police after not-guilty verdicts were announced for failing to test a Byron-linked vehicle for gunshot residue and ignoring ” abundant evidence” that he had been “tampered with” after the shooting by being valeted and extensively cleaned.
Merseyside Police then launched an internal review which revealed ‘problems’ in the way the ‘flawed’ investigation was carried out.