Former UFC welterweight and lightweight, Paul Kelly, was sentenced in his heroin trafficking case this week after a four-day trial found him guilty of basically being a drug kingpin in his home of England.
The Liverpool Echo has the story:
West Derby ‘hard man’ Paul Kelly, 29, who earned up to £100,000 a year on the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight circuit, was labelled the “brains” of the drug gang which he set up with childhood best friend Christopher St John McGirr.
The pair were snared after police investigating the violent Croxteth Crew saw McGirr with two of their leading members and realised he was selling drugs to the street gang.
Surveillance of McGirr, 28, and Kelly led to the arrest of one of their couriers who had £100,000 of import purity heroin under his car seat.
That courier’s replacement, their schoolfriend Paul Rogers, 28, was later arrested moving heroin worth up to £10,000.
David McLoughlin, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court: “McGirr and Kelly were in the drugs supply business together. The Crown say they were not soft enough to get their hands dirty and sought out others to do the dirty work for them.”
Also in the dock was John Preston, a Scottish drug dealer who travelled to Merseyside to buy wholesale cannabis and some cocaine from McGirr.
Judge Mark Brown told dad-of-two Kelly, of Crantock Close, West Derby: “You were in business with Mr McGirr supplying heroin to other dealers.
“You are an individual who has travelled widely in the course of MMA and as such would have contacts abroad.
“It is significant that the seizures involved large amounts of import quality heroin.
“In my judgement you decided to supply Class A drugs when your contract with UFC was terminated. You obviously enjoyed the high life and saw selling heroin as an easy way to make money.”
He jailed Kelly, who had a trial, for 13 years.
Rogers, of Smithford Walk, Prescot, got four years and McGirr, of Tollerton Road, West Derby, got 11 years.
Preston, 51, from Fife, was jailed for five years because he is in poor health.