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Drugs baron in seizure challenge

PUBLISHED: 13:17 14 May 2008 | UPDATED: 13:15 24 August 2010

by Court Reporter A convicted drug dealer who lived such a flamboyant lifestyle he burnt £50 notes, has won permission to challenge an attempt to strip him off his assets. Owen Roger Clarke, 50, of Rugby Avenue, Sudbury, was the brains be

by Court Reporter

A convicted drug dealer who lived such a flamboyant lifestyle he burnt £50 notes, has won permission to challenge an attempt to strip him off his assets.

Owen Roger Clarke, 50, of Rugby Avenue, Sudbury, was the brains behind an international drugs ring spanning five countries.

In June 2004, Clarke, who is known as 'Father Fowl', was jailed for 13 years at Snaresbrook Crown Court, which was later slashed to 11 on appeal, after admitting producing, supplying and possessing crack cocaine.

In September 2006, he was slapped with a confiscation order with the threat of four years more in jail if he did not pay up.

The courts had heard Clarke claimed he made his fortune as a music promoter but never kept accounts, did not pay tax and never opened a bank account.

He drove a supercharged Mercedes C230 and owned a string of properties in Britain and the Caribbean.

In Jamaica Clarke drove a Jaguar XK8 convertible with the personal number plate '007.'

The diamond-encrusted crucifix he wore around his neck was worth £10,000 alone.

Officers keeping him under surveillance saw him set fire to £50 notes with his associates in an obscene display of wealth.

The judge at the confiscation order had ruled he had made £578,403 from his crimes of which just £288,782 was recovered.

However, last week at the Criminal Appeal Court, his lawyers argued parts of the order should be overturned, as there was no evidence to suggest he owned a house in Jamaica, or a valuable Volvo car.

Mr Justice Stadlen, sitting with Lord Justice Gage and Mr Justice David Steel, said the judge's conclusion on who owned the property in Jamaica 'could not be criticised'.

However, the judges did agree Clarke did not own the car, after they reconsidered evidence from its new owner, to say he had not transferred the relevant documents by the time of Clarke's arrest.

Mr Justice Stadlen concluded: "Permission to appeal against that part of the judge's findings on the confiscation order should be granted, and we grant it."

A date for Clarke's full hearing has not been set.

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