A man accused of heading up a lucrative drugs business – allowing him and his partner to live a life of luxury – broke down in court while talking about his grandfather.
Taking the stand at his trial at Preston Crown Court, Lee William Broadbent began crying when asked about his close relationship with his grandfather, and how his death in August 2010 had affected him.
Broadbent said he was unable to work at his menswear and children’s clothing business for around seven months, and turned to heavy gambling.
When questioned by defence barrister Stuart Denney, Broadbent said he had been gambling for 15 years, placing bets of between £200 and £3,000 on football matches.
He said the habit earned him up to £5,000 a week.
The jury also heard Broadbent, 33, bet on horse races and boxing matches when he heard they had been fixed.
He said: “I bet on them when I knew what the result was going to be by getting inside information from the boxer, the jockey or the trainer.
“I’d bet anything from £10,000 to £50,000.”
Broadbent said it was through his gambling circle he met with various people concerned in the supply of drugs, but said he had nothing to do with a conspiracy to supply them.
He said he was able to live in a large detached house, which has a swimming pool, on Mains Lane, Poulton, rent free because of help he had provided its owner in tracking down a man who owned a massive investment debt.
He also said he was able to drive luxury cars because of a friendship with the owner of a leasing company, who would let him rent cars including a Kia C’eed, and a BMW M3, whenever he wanted.
Broadbent denies a charge of conspiring with others to supply cocaine between July 2011 and January last year.
He is accused of running the Blackpool-based drugs business, even after he fled to Spain in 2011.
Mark Monaghan, prosecuting, said packages had been supplied to Broadbent and his team, and drugs had been seized by police.
On October 4, a vehicle was stopped on the M61 coming from Blackpool.
A package recovered contained a kilo of cocaine, with an 87 per cent purity and a value of not less than £100,000.
Broadbent told the court: “There was definitely a conspiracy to supply drugs, but I didn’t know it at the time.”
He admitted he was in a supermarket car park with other people on August 11 last year, and that their purpose may have been drugs.
He added: “I had nothing to do with drugs.”
He said a man named “Lee” was involved in the conspiracy, but refused to identify him further in court because he was “scared to death of him”.
Also standing trial is Broadbent’s partner of 10 years, Jaqueline Thomas, 30, who denies converting criminal property.