He woke up in a 'bad mood' and decided to shoot his girlfriend

Thomas Corlett, 32,  is wanted by police on recall to prison
Thomas Corlett -Credit:Cheshire Police

A drug dealer shot his girlfriend when she brought him his morning cup of tea because he had woken up in a "bad mood".

Thomas Corlett was locked up last week after being identified as the "controller" of the "BB Line" heroin and crack cocaine ring. He boasted "can't stop, won't stop" as he flogged the illicit substances to users "on a daily basis".

The ECHO previously reported in 2017 that the thug had his sentence for shooting his partner more than doubled after it was deemed too lenient. The then 27-year-old was said to have awoken in a "bad mood" when she brought him the mug of tea.

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Lord Justice Simon told London’s Appeal Court on this occasion: "He said he didn’t want it and that he would throw it at her, but she put it down as she began to leave the room. Corlett launched himself from the bed, grabbed her by the throat and started to squeeze."

When the complainant managed to break free, Corlett produced an air pistol and told her: "It’s ok. I’ll just shoot you."

He then took aim and shot her in the torso. His traumatised victim suffered injuries to the left side of her body, as well as bruising caused by Corlett stamping on her arm.

In another incident, he took her for a drive in a stolen car and took his hands off the wheel after threatening to "kill us both". The vehicle then "span into a nearby wall", causing £15,000 of damage as well as injuries to his girlfriend.

Later on he turned up on her doorstep and started "headbutting the patio windows" as he attempted to gain entry. When police officers arrived to arrest him, he shouted "I love you" before being dragged off.

Corlett - then of Haryington Avenue in Bewsey, Warrington - was initially jailed for 32 months at Bolton Crown Court for offences including possessing an imitation firearm, assault, dangerous driving and perverting the course of justice. But his case was brought before the appeal court as the Attorney General, Jeremy Wright QC, urged senior judges to increase his "unduly lenient" sentence.

Lord Justice Simon, sitting with Mr Justice Goss and Judge Karen Walden-Smith agreed, and ruled the punishment to be too light. Pinpointing a “deplorable history of domestic violence”, the judge increased his sentence to five years and eight months.

Liverpool Crown Court heard last Thursday that the now 34-year-old was identified as the "controller" of the "BB Line", a county lines drug dealing operation supplying heroin and crack cocaine in the Warrington area. This saw "flare" messages advertising illicit substances for sale sent out to users from a Nokia burner phone "on an almost daily basis" between February 20 and March 6 this year.

Christopher Taylor, prosecuting, read out examples of the texts utilised by the gang, including references to "10s and 20s", "on all day" and "get your orders in". Another, described as a "bold statement", read: "On as always. Can't stop, won't stop."

Corlett - formerly of Duxford Court in Padgate, Warrington - was arrested after being seen leaving an address on Windrows in Skelmersdale in the company of a female on March 12. He then entered a Citroen Berlingo van which was stopped by the police, with the graft phone being found on charge inside along with two further mobiles.

A search of the house then revealed crack cocaine worth an estimated £6,170 and cocaine with a street value of £2,220. A motorbike, £6,180 in cash, a small quantity of cannabis and a "drug testing kit" were also seized.

Under interview, Corlett made "refreshingly full and detailed admissions" and "accepted running the drugs line". He admitted to detectives he had "picked on vulnerable persons for his own personal gain", having become "involved alongside his mates" upon his release from prison.

However, the defendant stated the phone was not his own and he was being paid £150 in order to man it. Corlett has seven previous convictions for eight offences - including 34 months in a young offenders' institute for robbery and possession of a bladed article in a public place, nine months for offering to supply cannabis in 2017 and 30 months for two counts of making threats with a bladed article in November 2022.

Gary Lawrenson, defending, told the court: "He takes me back to another era. He is old school and honest in his approach. He had a very difficult upbringing. At the age of 13, his mother died of liver failure - the reason for which really speaks for itself, it was because of alcohol abuse.

"It was against that background that he grew up. His father died just a few years later of heart failure for similar reasons.

"It is perhaps not surprising that he has had mental health issues since his early teens. His mum was the same age he is now when she died. He is in danger of becoming institutionalised. He says to me, frankly, that in prison he feels mentally and physically better."

Corlett pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of heroin and crack cocaine, possession of cocaine with intent to supply, possession of criminal property and failing to provide a sample for analysis. Appearing via video link to HMP Altcourse, he was jailed for three years.

Sentencing, Judge Anil Murray said: "You have got previous convictions for serious offences. You were running this phone line for about three weeks. You were identified as the controller. You were frank with the police and said you were running the drugs line, being paid £150 a day.

"You said it was not your operation, and the prosecution accept that. I have taken into account your personal issues. You had a difficult upbringing. I accept that, but you are 34 now and you need to start making your own decisions that are not based on the past.

"You need to start to change yourself. Otherwise you are going to find yourself serving a life sentence by instalments, because the sentences are going to get longer and longer."

Corlett replied: "Thank you, your honour."

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