Retired United Nations worker and golf coach, 64, who helped import £2.5million of cocaine and heroin is jailed for 10 years


A retired United Nations worker and golf coach has been jailed for over ten years after he became embroiled in a £2.5million drugs plot – with ‘no explanation’ as to why.

Paul Elson, 64, of Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, had no previous convictions when he was caught up in the underworld activity.

A stash of 36kg of heroin and 4kg cocaine with a potential street value of £2.7million was discovered when police raided a waterfront apartment at Waterloo Warehouse in Liverpool in October last year.

Andrew McInnes, appearing on Elson’s behalf, told Liverpool Crown Court that Elson had worked as a contractor for the UN for 28 years before retiring aged 58.

He added: ‘There is no evidence of a lavish lifestyle or a significant financial gain on his part. There is no explanation as to why he would become involved in this activity at this age.’

Paul Elson, 64, of Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, has been jailed for ten and a half years for his role in a cocaine and heroin smuggling ring. He had no previous convictions when he was caught up in the underworld activity

Paul Elson, 64, of Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, has been jailed for ten and a half years for his role in a cocaine and heroin smuggling ring. He had no previous convictions when he was caught up in the underworld activity

Elson's co-accused Stephen Cahill, 37, of Bottle, Liverpool, has a total of 23 previous convictions for 37 offences, including supplying drugs in 2006. He was jailed for 13 and a half years

Elson’s co-accused Stephen Cahill, 37, of Bottle, Liverpool, has a total of 23 previous convictions for 37 offences, including supplying drugs in 2006. He was jailed for 13 and a half years

Elson and Stephen Cahill, 37, had been seen carrying cardboard boxes filled with illicit substances into the complex moments before officers struck.

The court heard that Cahill was observed by police arriving at Waterloo Warehouse as a passenger in a Mercedes on September 19, 2023.

On October 31, Elson was seen driving into the same development in his Land Rover Discovery. Elson then walked into Waterloo Warehouse carrying a large cardboard box.

When a unit which Elson was carrying keys for was searched, 36kg of heroin and 4kg of cocaine was discovered inside. These ‘high purity drugs’ were said to have had a wholesale value of between £712,000 and £834,000, rising to somewhere in the region of £1,759,000 and £2,719,000 on the streets.

Cahill has a total of 23 previous convictions for 37 offences, including supplying drugs in 2006. Martine Snowdon, defending, said: ‘He was employed by this enterprise on two distinct occasions with a very limited role.

‘He has had issues with his own drug addiction over the years. His previous convictions do not help him, but what they do show is a protracted period of being a family man and turning his life around and this being an enormous and significant step backwards in what was a changed position.

‘It was only when he lost his job that the financial pressure to try and maintain that status quo meant that he turned to doing this just to try and make some money. Now, he is going to pay extremely heavily for that.’

Sentencing, Judge Charlotte Crangle said: ‘You have both admitted involvement in an enterprise which traded in desperation and destitution. You were motivated by financial advantage, with a complete disregard for the wellbeing of others.

‘Drugs wreck lives and cause misery, despondency and desperation. You, Stephen Cahill, know only too well what it is like to be afflicted by an addiction to drugs.

‘You were only interested in financial reward. Those who seek to profit out of such misery must expect severe punishment.’

Cahill, of Bootle, north Liverpool, admitted conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine and supplying heroin and cocaine. He was jailed for 13 and a half years.

Elson, of Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine. He was handed 10 and a half years.

Defence solicitor McInnes added: ‘Generally, he has been a positive contributor. He taught golf for a small income, and he has said that is the way in which he was recruited.

‘To look at him, he probably does present to those who recruited him as the perfect courier or custodian. His background would not draw any attention upon him whatsoever.

‘He says he was paid cash for his involvement. There doesn’t appear to be anything to suggest that he was playing a role above that of a warehouseman.

‘He is an intelligent and personable man, and will use his time wisely. Prison is not an easy place for him, and he will be there for a significant period.’



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