'Emperor of porn' jailed for running prostitution ring

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The Independent Online
A FORMER pornographer and his wife were yesterday jailed for running an 'extortionate and highly profitable' prostitution ring.

James Humphreys, 64, a one- time strip-club owner who used to call himself the 'emperor of porn', and whose evidence in the 1970s helped to jail 13 high-ranking detectives for corruption, made at least pounds 100,000 in just 20 months from the 'well organised' operation.

His wife, June, 59, who often acted as a maid to the prostitutes, forced the women to pay such high rents that they frequently had to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week to meet her demands, Southwark Crown Court in south London was told.

Jailing Humphreys for 12 months, Judge Peter Fingret said he was satisfied he played the 'key organisational role' in the operation. His wife, who received an eight-month sentence, was a 'full partner' in the business and looked after its day-to-day running. The judge said he accepted they did not coerce or corrupt the women they used, but 'on any view the financial arrangements for them were extortionate'.

Humphreys, of West Hampstead, north-west London, admitted living on immoral earnings; his wife, charged under her maiden name of Packard, admitted aiding and abetting him. The couple were arrested in November 1993 after police surveillance of three suspected brothels in Marylebone and Marble Arch. The court was told that eight or nine women worked at each address.

Humphreys, who now describes himself as a greyhound bloodstock agent, was jailed for eight years at the Old Bailey in 1974 for wounding his wife's former lover. Three years later, he gave evidence against a number of senior police officers who were found guilty of accepting bribes.

He was then granted a Royal Pardon and excused the rest of his sentence because of the help he had given the prosecution.

Packard, of Hampstead, has a number of convictions going back at least 20 years, including managing a brothel and allowing premises to be used as a brothel.

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