Brothel madame’s last minute change of heart

Jackson Street Industrial Estate St Helens
Jackson Street Industrial Estate St Helens

A WOMAN has admitted to being a brothel madame.

Ava Swift, 52, had been due to face trial yesterday before a jury at Liverpool Crown Court but at the last minute she changed her plea.

D2 East Side off Jackson Street, St Helens, the site of a brothel

D2 East Side off Jackson Street, St Helens, the site of a brothel

Swift, of Liverpool Road, Ashton-in-Makerfield, pleaded guilty to keeping or managing a brothel at the D2 unit on the Eastside Industrial Estate, Jackson Street, St Helens, between January 2007 and May 2010.

Judge Bryn Holloway further remanded her on bail to await sentence on June 30.

Police used legislation recently added to the Sexual Offences Act 2003 to close the unit following raids in May and October last year.

Signs had described it as a massage parlour and sunbed shop, but further inquiries revealed it to be used for illicit sex sessions.

The hearing was told that the closure was the culmination of a long-term police investigation.

In January the Crown Prosecution Service dropped a similar brothel-keeping charge against Swift’s 57-year-old husband Anthony.

However he did plead guilty to possession of amphetamine, mephedrone and two different class C stimulants seized by police during a raid last year.

On each of these charges Anthony Swift was handed a conditional discharge. Magistrates also ordered for the forfeiture and destruction of the drugs.

Chief Insp Keith McLachlan of Merseyside Police said: “Our investigation focused on those who are making large profits from the running of suspected brothels, and not the women who work there.

“Police are determined to prosecute those people who make large sums of money from illegal activity.”

“This was the first time that the legislation has been used on Merseyside and one of only a handful of times it has been used nationally.

“We will strive to use all legal means to deal with people and behaviour that has a negative impact on people’s quality of life.”