Madam told: pay back dirty cash

Brothel madam Ava Swift
Brothel madam Ava Swift

A HAYDOCK brothel keeper has been hit with a six-figure bill after being found to have amassed almost half a million pounds from her illegal trade.

Ava Swift, who was jailed for 15 months in July, re-appeared at Liverpool Crown Court for a proceeds of crime hearing.

After out-of-court negotiations between lawyers in the case the amounts that the 53-year-old had benefitted by and her realisable assets were agreed.

Judge Bryn Holloway formally ruled that Swift, who ran the brothel in St Helens, had benefitted by £494,628 and her realisable assets were £100,905.

The court heard that the assets were largely in her bank accounts, which have been frozen by police, and in three cars, including an Audi Quattro, worth a total of £3,940.

Judge Holloway told Swift, who was wearing a charcoal grey designer trouser suit and black top, that she has six months to pay and faces two extra years in prison in default.

Her barrister, David Polglase, told the court that Swift is not due for release from prison until next spring because the nature of the offence means she is not eligible for early release with an electronic tag.

Swift, of Liverpool Road, Ashton, had 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.

At her sentencing hearing Graham Pickavance, prosecuting, said that when police posed as customers to call the brothel they were told that a half-hour “body to body massage and full personal services” would cost £45, an hour would cost £90 and there was a choice of three girls available between 10am and 6am.

Police later found that Swift earned £20 from each client, with the prostitutes working for her pocketing the rest.

Shortly afterwards on May 27 last year officers raided Mrs Swift’s business, which had been running for more than three years.

There they found three prostitutes entertaining clients, as well as raunchy costumes, underwear, condoms, sex toys, baby oil, pornographic films and cash.

Mr Pickavance said: “In room one a woman sat on a double bed in her underwear while a man was naked in the shower and there was a TV showing a pornographic movie.”

Defence barrister Paul Treble described the brothel as a “commercial enterprise” after her husband’s business failed, causing him to have a nervous breakdown.