A mum who sprayed air freshener to try to disguise the smell of £100,000 of cannabis must pay back her ill-gotten gains.

Jasmine Vaughan-Jones, 31, and her partner Ian Kennedy, 42, were caught moving 9.5kg of cannabis from Liverpool to Wirral.

The smell coming from their van was so strong that police stopped the vehicle in Bootle and discovered 14 bin bags full of drugs.

Prosecutors said when officers halted the pungent van, Vaughan-Jones had "clearly tried to mask the smell with an aerosol".

The Wirral couple both admitted possessing cannabis with intent to supply in relation to the seizure of the drugs, in Stanley Road, on April 14, 2020.

Kennedy was on licence at the time for killing his girlfriend's dad, when a dangerous hydroponic system he set up at their family home in Wallasey caught fire.

He was convicted of the manslaughter of his father-in-law, Joseph Vaughan-Jones, 63, and jailed for four years and four months in May 2017.

Because of his record and the fact he was on licence, Kennedy was given 21 months in prison at Liverpool Crown Court last July.

Vaughan-Jones walked free after a judge agreed jailing her would have a significant impact on her two children and also Kennedy's mum, who she helped care for.

She was handed nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months, a rehabilitation course and a home curfew.

However, Vaughan-Jones attended court again last week for a Proceeds of Crime Application (POCA) hearing.

Ian Kennedy, 42, of no fixed address, admitted possessing cannabis with intent to supply
Ian Kennedy, 42, of no fixed address, admitted possessing cannabis with intent to supply

Philip Clemo, prosecuting, said it was determined Kennedy was "a man of essentially no means" at a hearing on December 4.

He said: "Miss Vaughan-Jones had essentially buried her head in the sand about these proceedings at that stage.

"Miss Vaughan-Jones is in a slightly different position to Mr Kennedy, in terms of her financial position. She has a bank account, which has in it, in the bank statements that we've seen, just a few pennies shy of £4,100.

"Essentially having examined the bank statements of Miss Vaughan-Jones, there has been some suspicions around deposits, cash deposits.

"Statements have been provided from the defendant to the effect that at least some of that money can be attributed to money received from a relative's lottery win. I make it plain that's treated with a degree of suspicion."

Kennedy said he was a cannabis addict and agreed to deliver the drugs to Bidston for £500 and a 49g bag of cannabis for himself.

Mr Clemo said the pair benefitted by £500 and while Kennedy didn't have any assets, his girlfriend now did.

Charles Lander, defending Vaughan-Jones, of Penkett Road, Wallasey, said she could pay the full amount within 28 days.

14 bin bags full of cannabis were found in the van when police stopped it in Bootle
14 bin bags full of cannabis were found in the van when police stopped it in Bootle

Judge Louise Brandon said she must stump up the cash within that period or face 21 days in prison.

Last July the court heard the haul of cannabis recovered from the couple had an estimated street value between £92,540 and £138,816.

Vaughan-Jones said she gone with Kennedy to buy some trainers for her son in Liverpool, when Kennedy received a phone call.

She said they got out of a friend's car and Kennedy told her to get in a van, because he had to take some stuff "over the water".

Vaughan-Jones said she saw him put some items in the glove compartment and asked what it was and he said cannabis.

She said Kennedy told her cannabis was in the back of the van and there was a strong smell, so she used air freshener to try and disguise it, then sprayed some more when she realised police were behind them.

Vaughan-Jones said she understood her partner was taking the cannabis to someone in Wirral, but had no idea how much there was.

Kennedy, of no fixed address, had 11 past convictions for 12 offences, including manslaughter, which related to the tragic blaze in Penkett Road on August 14, 2015.

He set up a hydroponic system connected to "sub-standard electrics" to grow 25 unidentified plants at the Victorian house he shared with Vaughan-Jones, their children, and her parents, but didn't fit smoke detectors.

Jasmine Vaughan-Jones outside Liverpool Crown Court
Jasmine Vaughan-Jones outside Liverpool Crown Court

They all escaped the fire, but Joseph Vaughan-Jones, who suffered serious burns and smoke inhalation, died four weeks later in hospital.

Kennedy was released on bail, but one year later was caught running a £11,200 cannabis farm at his dad's flat, above Nova Restaurant in Pensby Road, Heswall.

The former soldier later claimed he was growing the 'Blueberry Cheese' variety to give to his dog, which had cured the pet of cancer.

He always denied growing cannabis at the family home - suggesting it was tomatoes - but admitted producing cannabis at the other location.

Kennedy spent five years in the Army with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers before he left the force and became a HGV driver.

The court heard Vaughan-Jones had seven previous convictions for 16 offences, but none for drugs, and had last been in trouble in 2008.

When jailing Kennedy, the judge said he had a relevant criminal background including "the manslaughter of Miss Vaughan-Jones' late father".

However, Judge Trevor-Jones told Vaughan-Jones: "I bear in mind obviously you're the mother of two children, children with your co-accused.

Can you help us keep Merseyside covered?

"Although your mother as it might be said is freely available to step into the breach were you to be sentenced to immediate custody today, you too have stepped in as needs be to care for Mr Kennedy's mother."

He said this was an "important factor" and that he believed there was "a realistic prospect of rehabilitation".

Liverpool's courts are some of the busiest in the UK, with a huge variety of cases being heard each week.

To get a behind the scenes look at how they work and the moments that don't make our stories, subscribe to our free weekly Echo Court Files newsletter, written by court reporters Neil Docking and Lauren Wise.

How do I sign up?

It's free, easy and takes no time at all.

  1. First just click on this link to our newsletter sign-up centre.
  2. Once you're there, put your email address where it says at the top, then click on the Echo Court Files button. There are other newsletters available too if you want them as well.
  3. When you've made your choice, press the Save Changes button at the bottom.

POCAs allow authorities to claim confiscated money and assets from crooks to reinvest into policing, the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts.

In some cases, a judge can decide to award a percentage of any confiscated money to the victims of crime as compensation.

If an offender is said to have benefited to a certain amount, but doesn't have all of that money now, prosecutors can even apply to re-determine their available assets and ask for more cash at a later stage.

This could be from any source of money they come into in the future - even an inheritance, lottery winnings or other legitimately earned income - meaning it will continue to hang over their heads.