Georgia Harkness, the daughter of former Liverpool footballer Steve Harkness, has avoided jail despite living an ‘extravagant’ lifestyle funded by her drug kingpin boyfriend, Ashley Blackett.
Harkness, who worked as a prison nurse, met Blackett in prison, where he was serving time.
They started a relationship, and Harkness had his baby, helping him continue to run his criminal empire while he was behind bars.
Blackett arranged for money to be sent to Harkness so she could spend it on designer clothes, jewellery, and an Audi A5.
Harkness tried to hide her involvement by refusing to provide her phone’s PIN number to the police.
Eventually, they cracked the device and found incriminating material.
The court heard that Harkness provided a character reference for Blackett at his court hearing, and their relationship appears to be ‘ongoing’.
Blackett, his brother Wesley Blackett, and his right-hand man Christopher Taylor, supplied cocaine and heroin on the outside on Blackett’s behalf.
Investigators found that Harkness had sent Blackett over £1,000 during a nine-month period in 2019, via his prison payment system.
She was also involved in money laundering by transferring funds into different accounts.
Harkness was living beyond her means, and the police found £34,000 worth of designer clothes and jewellery worth £13,000 at her home.
She pleaded guilty to possessing criminal property, transferring criminal property, possession with intent to supply testosterone, a class C drug, and failing to comply with a section 49 by not telling police the PIN number to her mobile phone.
At the sentencing hearing, the judge said that Ashley Blackett had ruined Harkness’s life to a large extent, but she had no previous convictions, looked after her young child, and could be rehabilitated.
Harkness was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years, and was ordered to carry out ten rehabilitation activity requirement days.
She will face a further hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act later this year, where prosecutors will seek to claw back her ill-gotten gains.
In conclusion, Harkness’s involvement with Blackett and his criminal activities has had severe consequences for her.
Despite her good family background and career as a nurse, Harkness made choices that were wrong and eventually led to her involvement in illegal activities.
The judge’s decision to avoid jail reflects Harkness’s potential for rehabilitation, but the Proceeds of Crime Act hearing will likely impact her further.