Brute loanshark bullied man into buying Mercedes, doubled debt and left woman begging



A loanshark relentlessly bullied his vulnerable victims into handing over their benefit money by threatening violence and accompanying them to cashpoints.

Karl Marron pressured one victim into applying for a top-of-the-range Mercedes Coupe on his Motability Scheme.

The 33-year-old told another man he would break his legs if he didn’t pay up, Teeside Live reported.

Marron – also known as Karl Rothschild – even moved into the home of one couple who he claimed owed him money, after the woman borrowed just £20.

The loanshark lent them more and more, doubling the repayments so they could never afford to pay him back.

The woman eventually went to the police after receiving warnings when she was caught begging on the streets of Middlesbrough for money.

He was sentenced at Teeside Crown Court
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Image:

Evening Gazette)

On Thursday, Teeside Crown Court heard that Marron even accompanied the man to Lloyds Bank in Middlesbrough to ensure he withdrew cash to hand over.

The cashier was so concerned she took the victim into a private room and asked if he wanted her to call the police.

The victim declined the help, explaining that his wife was at home with the loanshark’s accomplices and he feared reprisals on her.

On Thursday, the court heard that Marron’s first trial had to be halted when two victims became too scared to give evidence after one of them received a text on February 8, 2020.

The message claimed to be from one of the other victims and read: “Police have worked out we’ve all lied and I messed up in court. We won’t be getting a big payout in compensation”.

Police traced the text – which the prosecution said was designed to intimidate the victims – to a cell mast in Reading, near the home of Marron’s partner, Katrina Allnatt.

CCTV showed Allnatt’s child buying a top-up voucher for the phone and the child was arrested.

Allnatt was later charged with perverting the course of justice and the court heard that she was pressured into sending the text by Marron.

Throughout the trial, the jury listened to harrowing evidence from Marron’s four victims.

Marron lent more and more money to the first couple over the summer of 2019.

The couple lived on DWP benefits, but Marron kept increasing the amount he said they owed him, and when they couldn’t pay it back, he bullied them into applying for a car for him on their Motability entitlement.

When the application took too long, Marron told the terrified couple that they owed him £2,750 for “wasting his time”.

Katrina Allnatt pleaded guilty to conspiring to pervert the course of justice
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Image:

TeessideLive)

He took their house keys and moved in with them, saying: “You have to pay me now I’m living with you.”

He even gave probation his new address as he was electronically tagged after being charged with perverting the course of justice.

Between June and October 2019, the couple handed over £4,900.

The court heard that Marron had “bled the couple dry” and left them living in “Dickensian penury” as they feared not being able to pay the rent.

The woman began to beg for money on the streets.

Brown then moved onto his second victim – who initially borrowed £50.

Brown doubled the amount the man owed to £100 and continued to increase the debt until it reached £1,700.

He then bullied the victim for seven weeks, forcing the man to apply for a £32,000 CLA 200 AMG Mercedes coupe, in cosmos black with leather seats, through the Motability Scheme, as a way of clearing the £1,700 debt.

Marron threatened to break his third victim’s legs if he didn’t pay £480 back, an amount that had spiraled from a £20 loan.

Defending Marron, Michael Shilliday, told the court that his client was suffering from a frozen shoulder that had not been treated in prison; and that he had already spent 293 days under curfew.

Mr Shilliday said Marron had experienced an “extraordinary difficult upbringing” and that the court couldn’t be sure of the exact amount Marron had taken from his four victims, as they gave conflicting evidence during the trial.

The defense also disputed the evidence heard that Marron’s first victims- the couple – who said their tenancy was threatened as a result of not being able to pay the rent, after paying Marron.

But Judge Christopher Smith rejected some of Mr Shilliday’s arguments, saying: “The victims were vulnerable and because of that they were easily confused.

“They gave conflicting accounts because they couldn’t always remember the details.”

Marron, who gives his address as HMP Durham but lived in Middlesbrough before his arrest, was convicted of four counts of blackmail from June to October 2019.

A jury also found him guilty of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

He pleaded guilty to the possession of a class C drug Zopiclone before his trial started.

Marron’s partner, Katrina Allnatt, 44, of Cliffland Way in Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to conspiring to pervert the course of justice after the jury was sworn in for the trial.

Sean Harvey, 52, of Wentworth Street, in central Middlesbrough, was accused of being Marron’s accomplice who held a fake shotgun to a woman’s head when she said she could no longer pay.

But he was found ‘not guilty’ of possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear or violence by the jury.

Handing Marron an eight-year and six-month jail term, Judge Smith told him: “You attempted to hoodwink the jury with fake tears and wholly dishonest claims of distress.

“You are, in my judgement, a cruel and callous man who seeks to corrupt others.

“You used your not inconsiderable physical size and your carefully created reputation, to leave your victims no choice but to meet your demands.

“You invaded your way into your first victims’ lives, lending a small amount of money to tide them over until the next benefit payment came.

“You doubled the money and doubled again. You sewed confusion and fear and you dishonestly reaped financial reward.

“And like the cuckoo takes over the nest, you established yourself in their home. They dared not complain.

“You were targeting vulnerable people who you could easily frighten and manipulate. The pressure you exerted on them crushed their spirits.

“One lady was left feeling forced to beg for money because you were taking her benefits.

“Your victims were left in misery and fear.

“Each of these offenses of blackmail represents cold-hearted and ruthless exploitation of vulnerable people.”

Katrina Allnatt received an 11-month sentence, suspended for 18-months; 100 hours of unpaid work and 20 rehabilitation days.

Marron was made subject to an indefinite restraining order to protect four of his victims.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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