Brutal enforcer who scalped woman in savage attack helped gang boss find grenades and guns

A notorious gang enforcer with a history of violence across Merseyside and Europe helped his boss find grenades and a firearm after his home stash was raided.

Fifty-eight-year-old Paul “Woody” Woodford has a notorious history in a Merseyside criminal gang. However, after extensive reporting restrictions were lifted, the ECHO this week revealed the involvement of Huyton Firm boss Vincent Coggins and his role in a menacing blackmail scheme which saw a terrified father hand over a house and land which worth £1m for a house and land which was worth £1m because of fear. would happen to his son if he didn’t.

Woodford, under the handle “Kingwasp” on the encrypted messaging platform EncroChat, communicated with Coggins, his older brother Francis and several other associates including Edward Jarvis and Michael Earle. As well as spreading multiple kilos of Class A drugs throughout their elaborate networks, the gangsters exacted revenge on anyone who crossed them.

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Little did they know that their messages were being monitored by police after the European authorities hacked the EncroChat network in April 2020. After robbing Vincent Coggins of drugs, from a stash house on Croxdale Road West in of May 2020, he and his. associates put together a plan to recover their contraband and punish those responsible.

However, fearing for the safety of the gang’s targets – who were not responsible for the robbery – law enforcement stepped in and arrested them. But looking back at Woodford’s history it is worrying – one of a man who is not afraid to use the most destructive violence if it would benefit him.

Woodford built an impressive reputation during the 1990s across the south Sefton estates, from Litherland to Aintree, before joining the Huyton firm. Woodford’s violence first came to media attention when he appeared in court in connection with a particularly disturbing attack on a housewife in 1995.

Woodford, apparently for no reason, had barged into her home before attacking her with a machete. As she cowered behind a chair, he pulled her up by her ponytail, and while shouting “Apache”, he hacked out. His only defense was that someone spiked his drink while he was in a pub that night.

Woodford launched into the attack while on bail for another incident, where he tortured a man with a hot iron, a machete and knives. He was eventually sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment at Liverpool Crown Court for intent to cause grievous bodily harm and ignorance.

Woodford is believed to have fallen out with the Coggins organization after his release from prison. Woodford was operating in both Amsterdam and Spain, and was issued with a European Arrest Warrant in 2008. He was extradited from Holland to Spain but then released without charge.

Woodford, then 45, is understood to have been deployed to Amsterdam in 2010 with a heavily armed platoon. However, following a tip from UK police, Woodford and the rest of the team, including four Merseysiders, were arrested. The ECHO previously reported how the gang may have planned a series of executions across the Dutch capital.

They were armed with automatic rifles, pistols, revolvers and ammunition. The Rapid Response Unit of the Regional Criminal Investigation Service carried out the raid, in which two men stopped in the street, three in a car and the sixth man in a house.

Woodford was jailed for seven months after being found guilty of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition at the end of a two-week trial. After completing his sentence, he was held in extradition custody by the Dutch authorities for several days, until officers from the Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCU) arrived and took him back to the UK. He was jailed again – this time for two years and eight months, after pleading guilty to six counts of fraud.

Jason Osu – a 31-year-old pilot – was shot and killed outside his home on Beauclair Drive, Wavertree in November 2012. Two years later Delta cab driver Paul Croxton and Thomas White – and George McGovern – the organizer of the shooting – was in prison for life. Woodford went on trial the following year accused of organizing the murder, as well as the attempted murder of another man, Darren Alcock, and his involvement in a shooting range in Maghull.

Prosecutors alleged that a web of phone contacts between Woodford and Croxton at the time of the critical events showed he was “behind the scenes” plotting and planning the violence. But the jury was told that Woodford was an “innocent man in a living hell” and did not know Croxton, his cannabis supplier, was a gun for hire.

Woodford slit his own throat in prison midway through the trial which left him needing scores of stitches and struggling to speak. Woodford then parted ways with his experienced defense team and, just until counsel was enlisted to give a closing address to the jury, he took on the serious challenge of representing himself.

He refused to answer any questions in the witness box, telling jurors it was because he was missing five teeth from neck surgery and was “difficult to understand”. After a seven-week trial and five days of deliberation, a jury at Manchester Crown Court found Woodford not guilty of all offences.

Woodford’s criminality was overshadowed by law enforcement for several years, but after the EncroChat hack, police saw his involvement in the Coggins gang. The ECHO understands they were the gang that supplied Woodford, and were in turn deployed as enforcers.

After a raid on the gang’s stash house, Woodford quickly offered his services. After Vincent Coggins received names of what he believed to be behind the raid, Woodford offered to buy him a firearm and ammunition, and another associate, Michael Earle, was deployed to sort out “pineapples” – a term used to refer to make your hand grenade.

When Vincent Coggins told Woodford about his plan to kill them with the hand grenade, Woodford replied: “I kill him with u m8”. His target was Brian Maxwell, a professional drug dealer who later used the EncroChat telephone network to find weapons including AR-15 semi-automatic rifles and an AK47 to defend himself against an attack. Even when presented with possible evidence that Maxwell Jr could not have been involved in the robbery because he had CCTV at home all day and advised to leave it until the next day, Vincent Coggins refused.

Vincent Coggins reported to Earle that he intended to approach Brian Maxwell’s father, Brian Maxwell Sr, with an ultimatum. Give back the drugs or the money, or he would pay. After monitoring the messages, the police made their first steps to disrupt the plans of Vincent Coggins. On May 27 they visited Brian Maxwell Jr’s home and issued him a life threatening notice, also known as an Osman warning.

Armed police also visited an address linked to Vincent Coggins to issue a cease and desist notice – a warning not to engage in any criminal activity. Undoubtedly, he continued to carry out plans to kill Brian Maxwell Jr, as well as two other men he believed to be involved – Michael Eves and Iyobosa ‘Bosa’ Igbinovia. On May 28 Jarvis sent a message to Vincent Coggins with alleged evidence that the two considered further incriminating the three men in the robbery.

An EncroChat message at about 2.30pm that day said: “..told me they were all out together on Maxwell’s start nights Saturday evening to Sunday for a commemorative drink…so Maxwell saying he got CCTV of himself not to leave the house on Saturday after** *the lie”. Later that day Coggins texted Fitzsimmons saying “they’re all getting it”.

The Maxwells contacted Vincent Coggins, Earle and Jarvis through a third party, a man who has yet to appear before the courts and therefore cannot be identified. Fearing an imminent attack on his son, Maxwell Sr. sent a tip to the gang.

Vincent Coggins, 58, of Woodpecker Close, West Derby, was jailed for 28 years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and conspiracy to blackmail.

Previous shot of Paul Woodford

He knew that his son had not committed the robbery but when he realized the threat he said “my solution involves me and only me paying the bill and then I’m the one robbed, I’d rather it to have is the money… I haven’t got it more than he has… then it’s up to me to find out who did it… any money I’ve got I can f*** all if he lived” .

Maxwell Sr offered Vincent Coggins around £1,360,000, split in cash and the sale of land and house. Vincent Coggins accepted the offer. But a chilling message to Earle later that same day showed that peace was only temporary. “F*** I’m still going to kill them all but it may take time now leave my dad alone”, he wrote.

On June 3, Maxwell Sr. signed over the money, the land and the house. On June 13, 2020, EncroChat administrators sent the message to all users that the domain was compromised and they could no longer guarantee the security of the devices. They advised users to power off and physically dispose of their devices. Three days later, the police arrested Vincent Coggins, Woodford, Earle and Jarvis all.

After being charged with a number of offences, Woodford pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and conspiracy to blackmail. He was jailed for 24-and-a-half years, which can now be revealed after reporting restrictions were lifted. Fellow gangsters Vincent Coggins and Michael Earle pleaded guilty to the same offenses and were sentenced to 28 years and 11 years respectively.

Dean Borrows, aged 39 and of Ledson Grove in Foreigners, Darren Tierney, aged 46, of Chatham Street in Stockport, and Paul Fitzsimmons, aged 60, of Birch Tree Court in West Derby admitted , conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin. . They were given terms of 14 years and three months, 12 years and nine months and 12 and a half years respectively.

Kevin Rimmer, of Blacklow Brow in Huyton, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin. The 57-year-old man was locked up for 16 years. Paul Glynn, of Croxdale Road West in West Derby, admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine. The 59-year-old was given 11 years and two months.

Edward Jarvis, of Breckside Park in Anfield, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and conspiracy to blackmail. The 59-year-old will be sentenced at a later date. Francis Coggins is currently wanted and believed to be in Europe.

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