LAWYERS have begun a bid to claw back the ill-gotten gains of a notorious loan shark who terrorised victims.
A legal team representing Cheshire Constabulary lodged a Proceeds of Crime application against Delamere man Paul Nicholson and his book-keeping girlfriend Tracey Rogers at Chester Crown Court on Friday.
Nicholson could be stripped of his £1m Delamere mansion, luxury cars and cash running into tens of thousands of pounds.
The exact amount depends on what financial records his barristers produce for the prosecution to work out the total cash Nicholson must cough up.
The former bouncer is serving an indefinite sentence for crimes including rape and blackmail.
During his reign of terror, Nicholson forced debtors across Cheshire to pay extortionate interest rates of up to 100% and enforced repayment with violence and intimidation.
He threatened to petrol bomb one victim’s home and made another perform a sex act on him as payment in kind.
Another victim was advised to become a prostitute to keep up with payments, and in one instance he made a mother withdraw cash from her 11-year-old son’s bank account while he watched from a car armed with a baseball bat. He kept an arsenal of weapons, including a knuckle duster and a knife.
Nicholson and Rogers were jailed in March 2009 following a Trading Standards and police investigation.
Inquiries culminated in a raid at the loan shark’s mansion, where police uncovered the trappings of a luxury lifestyle with horses and a tennis court.
Neither Nicholson nor Rogers was obliged to attend the hearing and the case has been adjourned until November.