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Brothel-keeper 'Beast' loses his Jag and s252k

A COURT has ordered a brothel-keeper whose prostitution operation took in up to €4m a year to forfeit over €252,000 in assets.

Martin 'The Beast' Morgan (49) ran a brothel and prostitution business described previously by Judge Frank O'Donnell as a "magnificent operation, highly sophisticated and highly rewarding and not a petty little business working on a shoestring".

Morgan, with addresses at Herbert Lane, Ballsbridge and Blackstock Road, London, and formerly of Blacksheep Road, Blanchardstown, was convicted by a jury in 2008 and served a three-year jail term imposed by Judge O'Donnell.

He was also fined €24,000 at the time.

SHIFTS

He had pleaded not guilty to organising prostitution and running a brothel at a Bachelor's Walk apartment in the city centre on dates from August 22 to October 10, 2005.

Yesterday Judge Desmond Hogan granted an application by the Director of Public Prosecutions at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to confiscate assets of €252,908.33, a 1996 Jaguar car and cash found on Morgan.

He also ordered that Morgan should pay the legal costs of the application.

Judge Hogan said: "I am satisfied that as a matter of probability that he has benefited from offences from which he has been convicted."

He said he could not quibble with the calculations by the DPP, which were based on the number of prostitutes working on shifts, information gleaned from a Garda surveillance operation entitled Quest and documentary evidence found on the raided brothels.

Fergal Foley, prosecuting, told the court that an operation, led by Detective Superintendent Pat Lordon, involved surveillance on Morgan and a premises on Bachelor's Walk in Dublin city centre between August and October, 2005.

On October 10, 2005, gardai raided an apartment in the International Financial Services Centre district, an apartment at Herbert Lane in Ballsbridge and the flats on Bachelor's Walk.

Documents and mobile telephones used in the brothel operation were recovered and Morgan and Deena Edridge, Morgan's on-site manager, were arrested. Edridge was later jailed for 12 months after pleading guilty to allowing the apartment be used as a brothel.

After examining the "meticulous records" of the operation kept by Edridge, gardai calculated that Morgan earned €252,908.33 during the 49 days of their surveillance.

Mr Foley said that if this figure was annualised it would mean Morgan was taking in cash of just under €4m a year.

Mr Foley said the evidence was that the €300-an-hour fee charged by the prostitutes was split 50-50 but that the women then had to pay for toiletries from their share.

He said they also had to pay a standing charge for the use of the premises and that these fees should be set off against any rent costs Morgan claims to have incurred.

STASHING

Diana Stuart, defending, said that her client is no longer involved in prostitution and that he wants to get on with his life. She said: "This is going on a long time. He is now a man of straw. He has paid everything he has. The trial took up a significant amount of money".

She said he is now living in England rent-free with his brother and has set up a building company.

At a previous hearing Mr Foley alleged that Morgan was "very efficient at stashing assets which have not yet been found".

hnews@herald.ie


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