Four people behind Midlands prostitution ring sentenced at Northampton court

The court heard that defendants raked in around £20,000 a month from the operation

By Megan Hillery
Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 10:30 am

Four people have been sentenced at Northampton Crown Court for their roles in operating a prostitution ring in the Midlands for around 18 months.

Jamie Dunn, aged 42, Catalina Cojocaru, aged 37, Andrei Cojocaru, aged 27, and Martin Dunn, aged 74, appeared at Northampton Crown Court on Tuesday, June 14 charged with facilitating travel of people with a view to them being exploited, conspiracy to control prostitution for gain and acquiring criminal property.

The court heard that Jamie Dunn and partner, Catalina Cojocaru played “leading roles” in setting up a prostitution ring that involved flying a number of women to the UK - mainly from Romania - to carry out sex work from July 2015 to January 2017.

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Jamie Dunn, aged 42, Catalina Cojocaru, aged 37, have been imprisoned for their leading roles in setting up a Midlands prostitution ring.

Ayanna Nelson, prosecuting, told the court that Dunn and Cojocaru did this “with an expectation of substantially significant financial gain,” earning an average income of around £20,000 a month from at least 13 sex workers.

The court heard that four properties in Northampton, Birmingham and Nottingham were rented by the couple from April 2016 onwards so that they could house the sex workers.

Cojocaru’s role was recruiting women, paying for their flights to the UK and arranging for transportation to a property of her choosing, where they would be expected to start working straight away - the court heard. The victims then had to pay 50 per cent of their earnings.

Ms Nelson told the court that Cojocaru wanted women to “look their best” and, when requesting semi-nude photographs, would tell them to “look sexy” and wear make-up.

The court heard that Cojocaru kept carefully detailed accounts of how much money each sex worker earned per day in a diary, where - on one day, where £900 was made by seven women - she wrote at the bottom of the page: “**** me, I’m brilliant.”

Dunn’s role in the prostitution ring involved ensuring there was a “constant supply” of women to work for him and his partner and creating online profiles for them - the court heard - and around £11,000 was spent on advertising sexual services alone.

Ms Nelson told the court that Martin Dunn - Jamie Dunn’s father - became involved when his money and credit cards were used to pay for accommodation for sex workers, advertising and more. When interviewed by police, Martin Dunn denied any of his money came from prostitution.

The court heard that Catalina Cojocaru’s brother, Andrei Cojocaru, was responsible for manning the sex workers’ phones. Seven out of 12 mobile phones discovered by police were labelled with women’s names so Andrei Cojocaru could keep track of messages and respond to clients, pretending to be the women. He would then arrange for clients to meet the sex workers by providing addresses.

Ms Nelson told the court that Andrei Cojocaru additionally assisted with transporting women from airports to properties.

Police raided the Northampton home of Jamie Dunn and Catalina Cojocaru in January 2017, where they discovered a number of items demonstrating the defendants’ involvement in the operation, including the 12 phones Andrei Cojocaru used to respond to clients on behalf of sex workers, semi-nude pictures and records of earnings.

Stephen Vullo, defending Jamie Dunn and Catalina Cojocaru, told the court that the victims were not coerced, deceived or forced to carry out the sex work. He added that, whilst the defendants conceded that their “enterprise” became profitable, making money was not their sole motivation because they wanted to help victims of trafficking escape from terrible working conditions.

The court heard that Catalina Cojocaru is of previous good character but Jamie Dunn has two previous convictions of drug driving in 2020.

Mark Savage, defending Andrei Cojocaru, told the court that he is of previous good character, he was around 20 years old during the offence and acted “in a way directed by his sister.”

Mr Savage said: “He is a young man, who can concede he has made a dreadful mistake. Letting his parents down is not something he takes lightly. He is an articulate, hard working and intelligent young man with no blemish on his character and he knows he has lost that.”

Stephen Sweeny, defending Martin Dunn, told the court that he played a “limited role” in the prostitution ring and was “induced into criminality by his son who he sought to help.”

Mr Sweeny added that Martin Dunn, who is of previous good character, feels “shame” and has suffered a number of health issues during the course of proceedings.

Her Honour Judge Rebecca Crane said: “You exploited the labour of others for substantial financial gain and the business would have continued if it were not for police intervention.”

Jamie Dunn, of Burdock Gardens, was sentenced to four years and nine months imprisonment

Catalina Cojocaru, of Burdock Gardens, was sentenced to three years and nine months imprisonment

Andrei Cojocaru, of York Road, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for 14 months and ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work. A curfew was additionally imposed for three months.

Martin Dunn, of Burdock Gardens, was given a 12 month community order and told to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and a two month curfew was imposed.