Maxine Valentine “flaunted” her wealth on social websites, enjoying expensive holidays abroad and shopping in designer stores.
She owned a £3,250 mobile phone and was given a pop star’s Bentley Continental for one birthday, which later had her own number plate – 30 MV.
Teesside Crown Court heard yesterday she and her husband Dennis Slade also paid for their children to go to independent schools and, for most of the period concerned, lived in a £1m house in an exclusive area of north Leeds.
Slade was jailed for life at Leeds Crown Court last year for conspiracy to murder and robberies including the theft of £1.4m from a security van. He was described as a “premier league” criminal.
Paul Greaney, QC, prosecuting, told the court Valentine knew her extravagant lifestyle was funded “not through legitimately earned income but through the criminal activities of her husband.” It was clear he did not “go out to work in the conventional sense”.
She also recorded in a diary at one point how boring he was on a night out, saying she might as well have taken a piece of beach driftwood with her because crime was the only conversation that interested him.
The couple had married in April 1998 when she had two children from a previous relationship and they went on to have three children together.
For a time they lived in Spain, but returned in early 2005, initially renting a substantial house in Harrogate for between £1,650 and £2,200 a month. In September 2006 they moved to a property in Sandmoor Drive, Alwoodley, in Leeds. The luxurious house valued that December at £1m “was registered in the name of an associate of Dennis Slade but in truth belonged to Dennis Slade himself”, said Mr Greaney.
All five children were enrolled as day pupils at independent fee-paying schools in North Yorkshire with £110,000 paid in fees and other expenses in the three years to March 2008 when Slade was arrested.
On April 27, 2007, police first saw the £74,500 Bentley, which had previously belonged to Jamiroquai singer Jay Kay, on the driveway. The couple also had a £53,000 Porsche.
Their holidays and other extravagances over three years cost around £360,000 “but that probably only represents a small portion of the sum spent” to fund their lifestyle, said Mr Greaney.
Slade, who described himself as a motor vehicle dealer, declared a profit of only £25,000 to the taxman for 2005-6 and £30,000 the following year, while Valentine, who said she was a self-employed property consultant, recorded a loss of £275 and a £5,500 income for the same two years.
Valentine, 37, admitted acquiring, using or possessing property, the proceeds of criminal conduct, between April 28 2005 and March 5 2008.
Ian Unsworth, QC, representing her, urged the court to suspend any jail term describing her as a mother devoted to her children, dominated by Slade.
She now had a part-time marketing job and had found solace and dignity “in an honest day’s work” rather than her previous “vacuous life”.
But, jailing Valentine, Judge John Walford said while not encouraging her husband’s crimes she had clearly enjoyed living on the proceeds. “It would be an affront not only to the victims of your husband’s criminal activity but to all decent, hard-working, law-abiding people if I was not to impose an immediate prison sentence.”
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