A LORRY fleet boss jailed for 16 years for his part in a plot to smuggle £1.7m of heroin into the UK has failed in a bid for freedom.
Judges rejected as ‘quite incapable of belief’ the fresh evidence put forward by Northwich man Stephen Stockall to clear his name.
Stockall, 48, of Marchford Close, Kingsmead, was sent down at Southampton Crown Court in March, last year, after being found guilty of being involved in illegally importing 13.8kg of heroin through Newhaven in June, 2006.
The drugs had been smuggled from Dieppe concealed in a loudspeaker in a lorry driven by Ronnie Rothenburg, formerly of Wallace Street, Northwich, who was also handed a 16-year term.
The lorry was in a fleet belonging to Stockall’s firm but he denied all knowledge of the drugs.
Stockall lost his appeal at London’s Court of Appeal in May this year which centred around the customs operation.
But Lord Justice Hooper gave Stockall four more weeks to find new evidence to clear his name.
On Thursday, that evidence was put before the appeal court but rejected as unconvincing.
A man awaiting trial on drugs charges said Stockall played no role in the drug-smuggling ring.
But Lord Justice Hooper said: “What convinces us that this statement is quite incapable of belief is the schedule of phone calls.”
The judge said ‘a significant number of phone calls’ had been made between Stockall, Rothenburg and the evidence-giver.
“This application for leave to appeal against conviction is dismissed,” he concluded.