Former fighter Paul Kelly found guilty of heroin trafficking
A LIVERPOOL cage fighter who rose to international success is facing a long prison sentence after being found guilty of trafficking heroin.
West Derby hard man Paul Kelly had denied being a major heroin dealer after an acquaintance of his was picked up with 1.5kg of import purity drugs in the footwell of his car.
But after a four day trial jurors returned unanimous guilty verdicts and he was remanded in custody to await sentence.
Kelly, 28, whose nickname is “Tellys”, fought in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) matches from Abu Dhabi to Detroit before losing to an American in 2011 and being let go by the organisation. During his trial he claimed he earned £100,000 a year and did not need to deal drugs for money.
But prosecutor David McLachlan said the fighting money had dried up after he left UFC and ended up losing a “journeyman” bout in India.
The investigation centred around Kelly and his best friend Christopher St John McGirr, 28, and their movements at the time of police raids in December 2011 and May 2012.
The court heard the pair were known as Batman and Robin by one of their customers.
They were accused of using couriers to move their drugs because they did not want to get their hands dirty.
One of those couriers, school friend Paul Rogers, 28, was also found guilty during the trial.
McGirr, of Tollerton Road, West Derby, admitted conspiracy to supply class A drugs last year.
When the verdicts were announced Kelly raged from the dock, shouting: “I’ve got two kids!”, while a man believed to be his dad was thrown out by police after an outburst.
Judge Mark Brown told jurors they had made the right decision on the “clearest evidence”.
He had Kelly, of Cranstock Close, West Derby, and Rogers, of Smithfield Walk, Tarbock Green, taken into custody ahead of sentencing next month.
Judge Brown added he considered Kelly “the boss” in the organisation.