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Gangster's ex-wife avoids jail after claiming she didn't know her luxury life was funded by drug money

By Mirror | Published Wed, July 26th 2017 at 10:19, Updated July 26th 2017 at 10:23 GMT +3

A gangster's ex-wife has been spared jail after she told a court she had no idea her luxury life was funded by his drug money.

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Rachel Duffy, 37, lived in a £450,000 detached home, drove a Porsche and put her children in private school despite earning just £13,000 a year from a small business she ran.

Police began investigating her lifestyle after arresting her ex Thomas Duffy, 42, over the seizure of £700,000 worth of heroin and cocaine.

Officers searched Duffy's extended detached property in the affluent area of Alkrington, Greater Manchester, and found envelopes with £1,000 in cash stuffed inside.

It emerged the children attended Firwood Manor School in Chadderton, where fees cost £6,300 a year. It is thought Mrs Duffy took them to school in her Porsche but she has since sold it for £30,000.

At Manchester Crown Court she admitted converting criminal property but claimed she had been unaware of her husband's activities until he began to suffer from bursts of paranoia thought to have been triggered by his use of drugs. The couple split in January 2015.

Duffy was given a 14-month jail term suspended for a year and ordered to pay back £50,000 in ill gotten gains.

Afterwards she was spotted having lunch and sipping wine in top Italian restaurant San Carlo Cicchetti which is a favourite of TV stars and Premier League footballers.

Her former husband was jailed for ten years for drug dealing at an earlier hearing.

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Prosecuting, Hunter Gray said: "Following the arrest of her husband in 2015 and his conviction in 2016 his financial transfers were investigated and so were this defendant.

"Thomas Duffy was transferring money to his wife and they lived a cash lifestyle which was unsupported by their own income. She owned her own business but that bought in money in the region of £13,000 a year.

"She sent two of her children to Firwood Manor School which cost over £13,000 a year.

"Her monthly outgoings would exceed £1,000 a month - yet when her house was searched they found envelopes with £1,000 in cash. She paid an expensive gym membership and recently sold a Porsche car for over £30,000."

Defending, Charlotte Johnson said: "My client and Thomas Duffy married in 2010 but after a year of marriage he became quite unwell and the result of that illness was appalling behaviour towards the defendant.

"In 2011 he became extremely paranoid to the extent he would leave cameras around the house for fear of her cheating on him and this got worse and worse over the years. She has accepted that she should have asked more questions but she has always been intent on making sure the children were looked after.

"She has never been unemployed and has worked her whole life and when she became aware of his drug use she made him leave the marital home and that is why they split up - this was all before he was arrested."

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Sentencing Duffy Judge Martin Steiger QC said: "The defendant was living a lifestyle unfunded by the legitimate work she was doing.

"I must bear in mind the degree of involvement and that she was under some domestic pressure and her husband was treating her badly for a long period of time.

"Given the nature of this offence it can be suspended, not least because she is a mother of young children."

Thomas Duffy was jailed in April 2016 after he pleaded guilty to possessing a Class A drug with the intent to supply, being concerned in the supply of a Class B, possession of a Class A drug and possessing criminal property.

It is thought officers recovered cash from a van plus 4.5kg of heroin and 2kg of cocaine from a flat.

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