'Ruthless' loan shark forced victim to flee home

A loan shark who became a millionaire by charging up to 2,437 per cent interest and using an army of enforcers to collect debts owed by poor families was yesterday jailed for five years.

Judge Adrian Smith said John Kiely, 36, was a "ruthless individual" after Kiely was found guilty of offences including blackmail and illegal money lending. One of his victims, Donna Ockerby, 45, claimed she was left fearing for her life and was forced to move to a secret location to escape him.

Mrs Ockerby, an auxiliary nurse, borrowed £300 from Kiely to pay for her wedding dress in January 2007 because she was "absolutely desperate", the jury heard.

He dispensed the money from a roll of £20 notes from his black Range Rover, complete with the personalised number plate "B0Y".

Mrs Ockerby said she then faced aggressive demands for money when she struggled to repay her debt because her working hours were cut. Mrs Ockerby told the jury she feared for her life when a concrete block was thrown at her window just hours after a debt collector called.

Prosecutor Ben Mills said that Kiely made a £2.9m profit between October 2003 and his arrest in October last year, when he estimated he had £800,000 in outstanding loans spread between 900 clients. His wealth enabled him to pay cash for a £868,650 mock-Tudor seven-bedroom house, complete with turret, in picturesque Chapel-en-le-Frith in Derbyshire.

Judge Smith told Kiely he had bypassed the financial regulatory system designed to safeguard his 1,200 borrowers. He said: "Your victims, because that is what they were, were vulnerable people who were unable to obtain credit elsewhere."

He said Kiely had failed to provide borrowers with paperwork for loans and charged "punitive rates of interest" and "arbitrary penalties" to those who fell behind with repayments.

Kiely had thought Mrs Ockerby was "giving him the runaround" when she had fallen behind with repayments and had left her frightened to death. When Kiely had visited her, "you put your face so close to hers she thought you were going to headbutt her".

Judge Smith said Kiely had on two occasions dealt with Mrs Ockerby "in a chilling, sinister and deliberately menacing way".

Mrs Ockerby, speaking after the case said: "These people prey on people's misfortune. If anyone wants to go through the horror that I have been through, then so be it, but their lives will be wrecked.

"There are more people like Kiely out there. People need to be aware. You will never get to the end of the last payment. It just goes on and on and on.

"I have heard of other loan sharks operating in Manchester and I'm sure that many people will be forced to use them, especially in the credit crunch."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy