Published: 12:00, 06 June 2016
An elderly woman who was convicted of helping to run a brothel had £20,000 in cash stashed away in her attic.
Margaret English will now face losing the money if she cannot justify it at a proceeds of crime hearing later this year.
The 64-year-old had claimed she was only a cleaner at “Intimacys”, run from a one-bedroom flat at College Heights in College Road, Maidstone.
But Sevenoaks magistrates convicted her in February of assisting in the management of the brothel and committed her to Maidstone Crown Court for sentence.
Grey-haired English, from Bromley, was sentenced to a community order for 12 months and ordered to do 150 hours unpaid work.
A judge expressed surprise that the “madam” who was running the brothel and at least one other, prostitute Francileide De Deus Santos, was only given a police caution, while English was prosecuted.
She then gave evidence for the prosecution against English.
“You have lost your good character. The impact is significant. Your reputation has suffered considerable harm, but these are serious offences” - Judge Smith
“It is complete nonsense,” said Judge Julian Smith. “How was that decision made and on what basis?”
Prosecutor Matthew Bolt replied: “All I can say is there is a similar feeling at the Bar.”
English’s lawyer John Blandford said: “It does seem an absurd situation. In my experience of dealing with hundreds of these cases this is the most extraordinary one I have come across.”
Mr Bolt said police raided the flat in October 2014 because of services being offered there in adverts.
A local tradesman was “utilising the services” of a prostitute. English was in the flat which was equipped with sex aids and condoms.
When arrested, she had two envelopes containing £320 and £140 and a bank paying in slip in the name F Santos, the owner and manager of the “business”.
“Miss English denied any knowledge of the premises operating as a brothel,” said Mr Bolt.
The £20,000 was found in a carrier bag in the loft when her house was searched.
English claimed she only earned £40 working one day a week as a cleaner but ANPR cameras showed that in the three months before arrest she went to Maidstone three days a week.
Passing sentence, Judge Smith said: “It is surprising to me that the person who was running the premises is not before the court. It is undoubtedly the case she is fortunate.
“I am surprised - I can say no more than that.”
He told English, now a care worker: “Unfortunately, her good fortune is not of itself any reason why you should not be punished for your wrongdoing.
“What is of assistance to you is my powers are limited to the powers of the court below. A community order in the circumstances seems to be wholly appropriate.