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Flintshire businessman accused of drugs plot is cleared of all charges

Richard Kemp

A FLINTSHIRE businessman accused of playing a role in the biggest drugs scam of its kind ever in Europe has been cleared of all charges.

Pharmaceutical wholesaler Richard Kemp, 61, of School Lane, Y Waen, Flint Mountain, was found not guilty on all counts at Croydon Crown Court today (Friday).

Mr Kemp was one of a group of five men accused of plotting to flood the UK market with fake Chinese-manufactured medicines in a multi-million pound scam.

One of the defendants – accountant Peter Gillespie, 64, of Carey Close, Windsor, Berkshire – jailed for eight years.

The other four men, including Mr Kemp, were all acquitted of any wrongdoing.

After his acquittal Mr Kemp told the Chronicle: "I was arrested four years ago, virtually to the day.

"Since that time I have repeatedly said I am innocent of these charges and after a very long wait the jury has now found me not guilty."

Mr Kemp said the legal proceedings had resulted in his licences being taken away and the destruction of a business he had built up over many years.

"My assets were frozen, legitimate stock was quarantined and there followed numerous Press articles based solely upon the prosecution’s version of the facts," he said.

"All this has gone a considerable way to destroying my reputation, which was attested to by almost every witness who was called to give evidence by the prosecution."

He continued: "In that four-year period not only have I lost my livelihood, but my health has suffered with stress and diagnosed depression.

"My family, who have always stood by me and have been an immense support, have had to live daily with this hanging over all of us.

"I thank them all but most of all my wife Carol – who has never wavered in her support and has kept me going in my desire to tell the truth and be vindicated.

"I would like to thank my legal team at Cobleys solicitors and my counsel Gordon Cole QC and Nick Johnson, who have been excellent and supportive throughout."

Mr Kemp added: "I fully support efforts to prevent counterfeit drugs entering the market, but it is clear that a more open and transparent relationship is required between the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) and those legitimately trading in the industry."

The other three free men are Peter Gillespie’s accountant brother Ian Gillespie, 58, of The Green, Marsh Baldon, Oxford; salesman Ian Harding, 58, of Lower Westwood, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire and pharmaceutical wholesaler James Quinn, 69, of Gillespie House, Holloway Drive, Virginia Water, Surrey.

For more on this story see Thursday’s Flintshire Chronicle.