Ecstasy gang supergrass escapes 20-year sentence

(First Edition)

A SUPERGRASS escaped a 20-year jail sentence yesterday when a judge said he would spend the rest of his life in fear after putting a millionaire drugs baron behind bars.

Peter Vukmirovic, 41, who helped police smash a pounds 7m ecstasy plot, was jailed for five years.

The Old Bailey had heard that the Oxford University-educated Dutch chemist was given a new identity and kept in a special cell after police discovered an underworld contract had been put on his head.

He was a witness in the trial of Thomas Slater, 49, and three others who manufactured ecstasy to be sold at Acid House and rave parties.

The judge told Vukmirovic, who admitted conspiring to produce drugs: 'Activity on the scale you have pleaded guilty to would normally merit a sentence of around 20 years. But I have well in mind the precarious nature of your future should any of the arrangements for your new life be penetrated.'

He said he had also reduced the sentence to encourage others to come forward and help police.

The court heard that Vukmirovic was at the centre of the conspiracy and used his pharmaceutical skills to help make the drugs. He agreed to turn Queen's evidence and reveal the full scale of the gang's activities after his arrest.

In May Slater was jailed for 10 years and fined pounds 600,000, while his son, Zachary, was given eight years. Two other gang members were sentenced to six and four years.