Essex crime: Southend man jailed for running drugs business with his girlfriend – more than three years after he was arrested

An Essex man who ran his own drug business with his girlfriend has been jailed – more than three years after he was arrested.

Jack Whiten-Simpson was arrested in Southchurch Road, Southend-on-Sea, in a car on New Years Day 2019 with then-girlfriend Abigail Hakken driving.

Inside the car, police found a bag in the back seat containing a birthday card along with 35 envelopes of cocaine and £700 in cash.

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Burner phones found in the vehicle also contained messages that significantly linked a man to selling the drug, with limited references to a woman involved since December 29, 2018.

Whiten-Simpson, 21, of Chestnut Grove, Southend, and Hakken, 22, of Cleves Road, Haverhill, were sentenced at Basildon Crown Court on Thursday (March 10) for being involved in the supply of Class A drugs after being convicted after a trial.

Continuing, Richard Scott said: “It was a relatively small operation. She clearly had an understanding and awareness of the scale of the operation. There is no doubt in her testimony that they were a couple.”

Mitigating for Whiten-Simpson, Nick Bonehill pointed out that it took police until December 2020 to charge the couple – almost a full year – and then another 14 months pending trial.

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He said: “He has proven that he can still do something with his life, he works full time in a role that he had to try.

“He dealt with his father’s suicide and there have been attempts throughout his life to deal with those issues, attempts sometimes spared by him because he just doesn’t want to talk about those issues.

“He has two children of his own.”

Hakken’s mitigating attorney said she had a long history of mental health issues, including personality disorders, anxiety and periods of self-harm, and was “easily directed and somewhat naïve”.

Judge Shane Collery said: “Class A drug trafficking, let’s face it, is a scourge in South Essex because of the heartache, violence and fear it brings.”

Speaking to Whiten-Simpson, he said: “You played a big part in your own pharmaceutical business. It wasn’t a one-off opportunity.”

To Hakken the judge said, “I have little doubt that if I didn’t meet Jack Whiten-Simpson, Miss Hakken wouldn’t be there, but I don’t blame her.”

Whiten-Simpson was sentenced to 34 months in prison while Hakken was sentenced to 24 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, with 15 days of rehabilitation and a three-month curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

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