'Will Young lookalike' a ruthless underworld gangster who targets rivial gangs

A 'Will Young lookalike' went from being a 'quiet lad' to a ruthless underworld gangster who targetted rival gangs to move up in the criminal underworld.

Richard Caswell, 42, blew up rivals' cars and organised a daring raid on a notorious gang's cocaine supply but he was described by one former barrister as "one of the most polite clients I have ever met in 30 years of practice".

Nicknamed 'Will' due to his likeness of the popstar, Caswell, helped orchestrate a violent raid at a stash house controlled by a major Liverpool crime network, on May 23, 2020, reports Liverpool ECHO.

During the raid at a residence on Croxdale Road West in West Derby, homeowner Paul Glynn narrowly escaped losing his arm, slashed to the bone, as Caswell and his accomplices fled with 30kg of cocaine valued at over £1m.

Subsequent police interceptions of EncroChat messages unveiled Caswell's communication with Jason Cox, leader of the infamous Cox crime syndicate in Salford, where Caswell disclosed the stash house's whereabouts. Together, they orchestrated the robbery scheme alongside Jason's brother Craig and their associate, Ben Monks-Gorton.

Even more daringly, Caswell and Cox had previously been supplied by the Coggins gang and when Vincent Coggins, under his handle "moonlitboat", asked Caswell if he knew who was behind the robbery, he played dumb.

The car blown up by Richard Caswell close to a police station in Tuebrook in 2004
The car blown up by Richard Caswell close to a police station in Tuebrook in 2004 -Credit:PA

Vincent Coggins and his associates were arrested on June 16 - three days after news of the EncroChat hack became public.

The robbers were eventually apprehended by the authorities after their plans, made over EncroChat, were viewed by police following the hack of the encrypted messaging platform in April 2020.

During Caswell's sentencing at Manchester Crown Court, his legal team noted the obvious: he had become a target for Coggins' associates. Prior to his sentencing, he endured a facial slashing with a blade, yet he refrained from cooperating with prison authorities in their investigation into the perpetrator.

Caswell first hit headlines when he was charged over an underworld feud between club owners in the citywhich involved powerful car bombs fashioned from industrial fireworks stuffed into cheap, stolen motors exploding across the city in 2003 and 2004.

While, the messages recovered from EncroChat revealed he was himself moving multi-kilo quantities of heroin and cocaine. He was also considered by Vincent Coggins and his fearsome firm as a man who could connect them with other buyers of wholesale quantities of class-A drugs.

Following their high-risk, high-reward robbery, Caswell and Jason Cox split their earnings 50/50. It it was in his chats with Jason Cox that Caswell's ruthlessness and apparent casual willingness to use violence became clear. In one conversation about the plan to rob the stash house, Jason Cox asked if a courier for the firm they intended to double-cross would lead them to the drugs. Caswell replied: "I would even be up for killing him if needs be."

In another conversation, Caswell dropped Jason Cox a message asking: "Would you be up for a kidnapping?". The exchange that followed made clear they were referring to the daughter of a gangland rival.

Caswell was jailed for seven years for conspiracy to supply cocaine and diamorphine, possessing criminal property, and conspiracy to commit robbery. Judge Patrick Field, said of the raid: "It was a meticulously executed crime, committed by greedy and desperate criminals, and demonstrated, I suppose, that there is no honour among drug traffickers."

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