Money taken from teenage gang leader goes to suicide prevention charity

Dirty money taken from a teenage gang leader and his team will go to help suicide prevention charity James’ Place.

Baby-faced Harry O’Brien was the 16-year-old boss of a cannabis mob behind three shootings and a firebombing. ECHO won a legal battle to name him when he was locked up for the brutality he brought to the streets of Dingle.

The ECHO detailed how O’Brien sought to rule South Liverpool by terror. And now we can reveal the money that Judge Neil Flewitt, QC, ordered taken from him and his gang when they were sentenced in late April bolstered a pot totaling over £9,000, which is heading to the Liverpool James’ Place charity.

READ MORE:Judge offers drug dealer dad jail or chance to change for his son

Every year, thousands of pounds of dirty money are seized from criminals selling drugs and bringing misery to our communities. Once this money is seized by the police, the courts normally order its confiscation, before it is redirected to the funds of the Ministry of the Interior.

Judges at Liverpool Crown Court ruled in January that these funds should be sent directly to local charities, with a different selection each month. The groundbreaking initiative applies to small sums of money, confiscated under section 27 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

In total, the total orders made by the judges in April in favor of James’ Place came to £9,094. It also included some £4,000 taken from thug and drug dealer Lewis Fitzpatrick – a man who became embroiled in an underground war waged by the cocaine boss brothers as their debt spiraled out of control.

James’ Place supports men over the age of 18 going through a suicidal crisis by providing quick access to therapy and support. Its free service includes one-on-one talk therapy with specially trained therapists in a warm, safe environment at a center in the Georgian Quarter.

Anyone can refer, or anyone who cares, to their services. Since opening in 2018, James’ Place has engaged with over 800 men offering support and advice and has completed over 450 interventions.

In November, ECHO reported on how James’ Place was helping to prevent men from taking their own lives, according to a report from Liverpool John Moores University. The report stated: “The results identified clearly demonstrate that James’ Place is making a life-changing difference to individuals (and) their families.”

James’ Place was founded by Clare Milford Haven and Nick Wentworth-Stanley, following the tragic loss of their 21-year-old son, James, in 2006. James went to find someone to talk to about suicidal thoughts but couldn’t find the urgent help he desperately needed.

Jane Boland, James’ Place Liverpool manager and clinical manager, said: “Our aim is to help men in Liverpool who find themselves in a suicidal crisis. Suicide remains the biggest killer of men under 50. in this country.

“We know that men on Merseyside can suffer from feelings of suicide due to a variety of factors such as relationship breakdowns, housing and financial worries. We have been able to offer our unique intervention to so many men in the borough shows that our service is vital to the good work being done to address growing concerns about men committing suicide across the country.”

You can find out more about James’ Place at https://www.jamesplace.org.uk or call the charity on 0151 303 5757, Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.30pm.