A middle-aged married couple, who earned thousands of pounds from running a prostitution operation based in flats in the Lincoln area, have avoided jail after a three-year delay in the case being heard in court.
Philip Godfrey, 47, and his wife Lamlaiman, 52, brought in Chinese women to work out of properties on the Carlton Estate in uphill Lincoln and in North Hykeham south of the city, which were rented using false identities with payments made in cash or by pre-paid credit cards.
Lincoln Crown Court heard that the couple swapped the women over on a weekly basis with a man installed as a “nanny” to look after the prostitutes who worked from the flat at Palatine House off Olsen Rise. A second rented flat at Moor Lane, North Hykeham was also used.
Andrew Howarth, prosecuting, told the court: “The services of the prostitutes were advertised on websites with the adverts being paid by the defendants using false identities and pre-paid credit cards.
“Mrs Godfrey was responsible for recruiting the women, she being a Chinese speaker. Philip Godfrey was equally involved.”
Mr Howarth said the flat at Palatine House was rented in March 2017 with payments made by cash paid into the bank.
The North Hykeham flat was first rented in June of the same year with the rent also paid in cash.
“Police investigations began in July 2017 when officers noticed Oriental or Asian prostitutes were being offered on websites operating in the Lincoln area.
“The mobile phone number was found to be registered to a James Davies. That was one of the false names that was used by the defendants.
“One of the officers rang the number and spoke to someone who gave the name Cindy.
“Ostensibly massage services were offered but it was stated that included everything. It was £80 for half an hour and £160 for an hour.”
Mr Howarth said that as many as 61 male customers visited the Lincoln flat a week staying for up to two hours at a time.
Officers visited the Palatine House flat in September 2017 where they found a Chinese prostitute and the male “nanny”. The man, who was illegally in the UK, was deported.
Officers also discovered £3,500 cash at the couple’s home when they were arrested the following month.
“Clearly there was an intention to expand the business. An indication of the finances involved is that £16,000 had been paid in cash for deposits and rent on properties.
“Neither of the defendants declared any income to HMRC during the period we are concerned with.”
Philip Godfrey, 47, and Lamlaiman Godfrey, 52, both of The Banks, Bingham, Notts, each admitted two charges of controlling prostitution.
They were each given an 18 month jail sentence suspended for two years with a three month electronically monitored night-time curfew.
A hearing to consider the confiscation of their available assets was adjourned to November.
Judge John Pini QC told them that only the three year delay in bringing the case to court had spared them from immediate jail sentences.
“This was a well-planned and organised operation. If you had come to court early in 2018 you would both have gone off to prison.
“However the reality is that it is now almost three years since these offences were committed. You have not committed any further offences and you are both of previous good character.”
Nick Bleaney, in mitigation, said that the couple had not coerced or exploited the women involved and had admitted the offences. He described Philip Godfrey as suffering from “indifferent health”.
“The very fact that there have been protracted criminal proceedings has imposed a warning and a punishment.”