The former head of a notorious crime gang paid nearly £50,000 in court costs to avoid going to prison – hours after claiming he was broke.
Terry Adams, 64, who was associated with the north London “Adams family”, initially pleaded poverty and offered to pay back what he owed at £15 a week. At this point the judge ordered him to serve the “default term” of 12 months.
The Judicial Office said within three hours of the hearing Adams had paid up the £46,258 he owed in costs.
Adams’s lawyers had told Westminster Magistrates’ Court he was living in a council flat and unemployed. However, the Crown Prosecution Service argued there was a strong case the 64-year-old from Bloomsbury had “substantial undisclosed assets”.
District Judge Michael Snow said Adams’s £15-a-week offer meant his debt would take “many decades to settle” and gave him a 12-month jail sentence for his “wilful refusal” to pay.
However, he added that Adams “doesn’t have to spend a single day in custody because if he settles the order in full he will be released immediately”.
Giving evidence in court on Monday, Adams accused the authorities of carrying out a “witch-hunt” that “has never stopped and will never stop”.
The former crime boss previously paid nearly £730,000 to avoid spending more time in prison having been jailed in 2007 for money laundering.
The Adams family crime syndicate operated in London’s underworld throughout the 1980s and 90s
The gang started off in petty crime and went on to armed robbery before diversifying into drug trafficking
At the height of their power, in the late 1980s, they were in charge of most of the cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine coming into the capital
In 2016 Patrick Adams was jailed for nine years for shooting an associate he suspected of being a “grass”
In 2007 Adams’s older brother Terry was jailed for seven years for money-laundering
Last year Michael Adams was jailed for 38 months for cheating his way out of about £300,000 in tax