Brutal enforcer who scalped woman in brutal attack helped find grenades and weapons for gang boss

A notorious gang enforcer with a history of violence on Merseyside and Europe helped his boss obtain grenades and a firearm after his stash house was raided.

Paul “Woody” Woodford, 58, has a notorious past in the criminal gangland of Merseyside. However, following the lifting of extensive reporting restrictions, the ECHO this week revealed its association with Huyton Firm boss Vincent Coggins and his role in a looming blackmail plot that led to a terrified father handing over a house and land worth £1m over fears of what might happen would happen. what would happen to his son if he didn’t.

Woodford communicated under the name “Kingwasp” on the encrypted messaging platform EncroChat with Coggins, his older brother Francis and a number of other associates, including Edward Jarvis and Michael Earle. As well as procuring multi-kilo Class A drug shipments which they distributed across their extensive networks, the gangsters also plotted revenge on anyone who came across them.

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They were unaware that their messages were being tapped by police officers after the EncroChat network was hacked by European authorities in April 2020. After Vincent Coggins’ drugs were robbed from a warehouse on Croxdale Road West in May 2020, he and his associates formulated 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 – police intervened and arrested them. But looking back at Woodford’s history, a worrying picture emerges: of a man utterly unafraid to use the most devastating violence when it benefits him.

Woodford built a formidable reputation in the south Sefton estates from Litherland to Aintree in the 1990s before subsequently becoming associated with the Huyton Firm. Woodford’s violence first came to media attention when he appeared in court in 1995 in connection with a particularly disturbing attack on a woman’s home.

Woodford had sneaked into her home for seemingly no reason before attacking her with a machete. As she cowered behind a chair, he pulled her up by her ponytail and, shouting “Apache,” chopped it off. His only defense was that someone had added drugs to his drink in a pub that night.

Woodford began the attack while on bail for a separate incident, in which he tortured a man with a hot iron, machete and knives. He was eventually sentenced to seven years in prison at Liverpool Crown Court for intent to commit grievous bodily harm and affray.

It is believed that Woodford became involved with the Coggins organization after his release from prison. Woodford operated in both Amsterdam and Spain, and a European arrest warrant was issued for him in 2008. He was extradited to Spain by the Netherlands, but subsequently released without charge.

It is clear that Woodford, then 45 years old, was sent to Amsterdam together with a heavily armed gang in 2010. However, following a tip-off from British 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 in the Dutch capital.

They were armed with automatic rifles, a pistol, revolver and ammunition. The raid, in which two men were arrested on the street, three in a car and the sixth in a house, was carried out by the Quick Response Unit of the Regional Criminal Investigation Department.

Woodford was sentenced to seven months in prison after being found guilty of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition following a two-week trial. After serving his sentence, he was held in extradition detention by Dutch authorities for several days until officers from the Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCU) arrived and brought him back to Britain. He was jailed again, this time for two years and eight months, after pleading guilty to six counts of cheating.

Jason Osu – a 31-year-old pilot – was shot dead outside his home on Beauclair Drive, Wavertree, in November 2012. Two years later, gunmen Delta taxi driver Paul Croxton and Thomas White – and George McGovern – an organizer of the shooting – were given life sentences. Woodford was tried the following year and charged with organizing the murder, as well as the attempted murder of another man, Darren Alcock, and involvement in a spate of shootings in Maghull.

Prosecutors had alleged that a web of telephone contact between Woodford and Croxton at the time of critical events showed he was plotting and planning the violence “behind the scenes.” But the jury was told Woodford was an “innocent man in a living hell” and that he was unaware that Croxton, his cannabis supplier, was a gun for hire.

Woodford slit his own throat in prison midway through the trial, leaving him requiring dozens of stitches and struggling to speak. Woodford then parted ways with his experienced defense team and, until a lawyer was called in to make a closing address to the jury, took on the daunting challenge of representing himself.

He refused to answer questions on the witness stand, telling jurors this was because an operation on his neck left him missing five teeth 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 crimes.

Woodford’s criminality remained under the law enforcement radar for several years, but after the EncroChat hack, police noticed his involvement with the Coggins gang. The ECHO understands Woodford was supplied by the gang and in turn used by them as an enforcer.

After the gang’s stash house was robbed, Woodford quickly offered his services. After Vincent Coggins obtained names of who he believed was behind the raid, Woodford offered to buy him a firearm and ammunition, while another employee, Michael Earle, was employed to sort “a pineapple” – a term used used to refer to a hand grenade.

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

Vincent Coggins reported to Earle that he planned to approach Brian Maxwell’s father, Brian Maxwell Sr., with an ultimatum. Give back the medicine or money, otherwise he would pay. After overhearing the messages, police took the first steps to disrupt Vincent Coggins’ plans. On May 27, they visited Brian Maxwell Jr.’s home. and issued him a life-threatening warning, also known as an Osman warning.

Armed police also attended an address linked to Vincent Coggins to issue a disturbance warning – a warning not to engage in any criminal activity. Undeterred, he set plans in motion to kill Brian Maxwell Jr. to murder, as well as two other men he believed were involved: Michael Eves and Iyobosa ‘Bosa’ Igbinovia. On May 28, Jarvis sent Vincent Coggins alleged evidence that the pair were considering further accusing the three men of the robbery.

An EncroChat message around 2:30 PM that day said: “..he told me they were all out together. Maxwell Boser Eves from Saturday afternoon to Sunday for an anniversary drinks… so Maxwell saying he has CCTV footage of him not leaving the house on Saturday is off ** *lie”. Later that day, Coggins messaged Fitzsimmons saying they all got it.

The Maxwells communicated with Vincent Coggins, Earle and Jarvis through a third party, a man who has yet to appear in court and thus cannot be identified. Fearing that an attack on his son was imminent, Maxwell Sr sent a proposal to the gang.

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

An earlier mugshot of Paul Woodford

He knew that his son had not committed the robbery, but because he understood the threat, he said: ‘My solution is that I and I alone have to pay the bill and then it is me who gets robbed, I would rather have him than money… and it won’t be in control because I don’t have it any more than he does… and then it’s up to me to find out who did it… all the money I have means all when he’s dead.’

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

On June 3, Maxwell Sr signed over the money, the land and the house. On June 13, 2020, EncroChat administrators notified all users that the domain had been hacked and that they could no longer guarantee the security of the devices. They advised users to turn off their devices and physically throw them away. Three days later, Vincent Coggins, Woodford, Earle and Jarvis were all arrested by police.

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

Dean Borrows, aged 39, of Ledson Grove in Aughton, 46-year-old Darren Tierney, of Chatham Street in Stockport, and 60-year-old Paul Fitzsimmons, of Birch Tree Court in West Derby, admitted conspiring to supply cocaine and to supply heroin. They received fourteen years and three months, twelve years and nine months and twelve and a half years respectively.

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

Edward Jarvis, of Breckside Park, Anfield, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and conspiracy to commit 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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