Richard English & Rachel Cooper Conclude Complex Multi Offence Conspiracy Case

Richard English leading Rachel Cooper and instructed by Forbes, Preston represented Mark Anderson.

Mr Anderson, a native of Barrow in Furness is 30 years of age. He, with five others, was accused of a number of offences – conspiring to traffic young girls for sexual exploitation; conspiring to commit burglaries with a value of over £200,000; and a conspiracy to supply an unquantified but ‘very substantial’ amount of heroin, cocaine, MDMA and ketamine, Class A and B drugs over a six month period in 2018 in the Preston area. He was further charged with production of cannabis, abstracting electricity, and several serious sexual offences. This was a difficult and complex case involving extensive phone records, cell siting material and ANPR evidence, resulting in over 600,000 pages of served material and 1,500 hours of CCTV and surveillance footage.

The case was heard at Preston Crown Court before HH Judge Jefferies QC and a jury.

Before the trial began Mr English and Ms Cooper led detailed and complex defence submissions regarding the sufficiency of evidence on the trafficking allegation; in addition to an examination of the evidence there was a review of UN and EU treaties. The trial judge was persuaded that there was no case to answer in relation to the allegation that Mr Anderson and others had been engaged in human trafficking. Other complex pre-trial issues included the use of intermediaries and the admissibility of evidence of previous sexual experience (s41 Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act).

Mr Anderson then admitted his involvement in the burglaries and drug dealing but denied the allegations of rape which therefore proceeded to trial. The trial, which took five weeks, involved the careful cross-examination of a number of young and vulnerable women. The jury took a number of days to reach their decision, and acquitted Mr Anderson of one allegation of rape.

On 19 March 2020 Mr Anderson and the other Defendants were sentenced. HH Judge Jefferies QC did not find Mr Anderson was dangerous, and passed a determinate sentence of 21 years and seven months imprisonment.

The case received considerable press coverage, locally and throughout the North West. A report of the sentence hearing by Stef Hall of the Lancashire Post is available here:

Richard English’s CV is here

and Rachel Cooper’s

Their clerk, Andy McGuinness can be contacted to discuss their availability on 07968 941358