Vincent Coggins and his older brother Francis were at the top of one of Merseyside’s most notorious gangs – the Huyton Firm – until the organised crime group was brought down by its own text messages.

Encrochat messages intercepted by police showed the pair discussing drug deals including a £16million cocaine deal.

One hit on a rival, ordered by Vincent, resulted in the death of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel.

But thankfully, police managed to unearth crucial evidence to stop the gang which is the subject of a BBC Panorama episode, ‘The Crime Bosses who Terrorised a City’, on May 29.

Find out more about the brothers, their downfall and where they are now below.

Vincent Coggins (pictured) and his older brother Francis were at the top of one of Merseyside's most notorious gangs - the Huyton Firm - until the organised crime group was brought down by its own text messages

Vincent Coggins (pictured) and his older brother Francis were at the top of one of Merseyside’s most notorious gangs – the Huyton Firm – until the organised crime group was brought down by its own text messages 

Olivia Pratt-Korbel was shot dead in her own house after Thomas Cashman burst in chasing drug dealer Joseph Nee

Olivia Pratt-Korbel was shot dead in her own house after Thomas Cashman burst in chasing drug dealer Joseph Nee 

Who are Vincent and Francis Coggins? 

Vincent Coggins was the head of Merseyside’s notorious Huyton Firm, a powerful organised crime group that was involved in international drug trafficking, which he and his older brother Francis built. 

Known as ‘The Headmaster’, Vincent ordered attacks on rivals including one which resulted in the tragic death of Olivia Pratt-Korbel. 

The child’s killer, Thomas Cashman, was a hitman for Coggins before he was sentenced to life for her murder.

The Coggins brothers’ grip on international drug trafficking was aided by connections forged with fellow gangsters in Spain, where a villa linked to them was raided in 2017 – but they were never charged.

What happened to the Huyton Firm?

In May 2024, Vincent Coggins – then 58 – was jailed for 28 years after police smashed the Huyton Firm.

He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and conspiracy to commit blackmail. 

Associate Paul Woodford, of Liverpool, was jailed for 24 years and six months and Michael Earle, of Huyton, was jailed for 11 years after both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and conspiracy to commit blackmail.

Paul Glynn, of Liverpool, was jailed for 11 years and two months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine.

Darren Tierney, of Stockport, was jailed for 12 years and nine months; Paul Fitzsimmons, of Liverpool, was jailed for 12 years and six months; Kevin Rimmer, of Huyton, was jailed for 16 years; and Dean Borrows, of Liverpool, was jailed for 16 years after all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

Coggins was finally brought to justice after officers intercepted Encrochat messages that show them plotting revenge on men they mistakenly believed were responsible for robbing them.

Despite over 30 serious criminals being jailed after the Huyton Firm was busted, Francis Coggins remains on the run and is believed to be abroad, the BBC reported.

How was Vincent Coggins caught?

Thomas Cashman, 34, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 42 years for the murder of nine-year-old Olivia

Thomas Cashman, 34, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 42 years for the murder of nine-year-old Olivia

Police monitoring EncroChat – an encrypted messaging network hacked by police in 2020 – became aware of threats towards the men wrongly identified as robbers of a Huyton Firm cocaine ‘stash house’ on May 23, 2020.

In communications sent on Encrochat, Coggins, who used the handle moonlitboat, expressed a desire to kill those responsible for the robbery, whom he incorrectly identified as Brian Maxwell Junior, Michael Eves and Iyobosa Igbinovia.

Threat-to-life notices were issued and the defendants were subject to disruption notices from police.

Those threats led to Maxwell Jr’s father, Brian Maxwell Senior, giving money, property and land worth £1m to the gang in a bid to save his son’s life, the court heard.

On June 16, 2020, three days after the Encrochat service alerted its users to the hack, a group were arrested by North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (NWROCU) officers as a result of the intercepted messages.

Other messages between the Coggins brothers showed them discussing a cocaine deal worth £16m, and paying off a corrupt police officer called ‘Piggy’, The Mirror reported.

Armed Spanish police stormed a villa in the Costa del Sol linked to the brothers in 2017 - but they were never charged - where they found large numbers of marijuana plants (seen)

Armed Spanish police stormed a villa in the Costa del Sol linked to the brothers in 2017 – but they were never charged – where they found large numbers of marijuana plants (seen)

Another chat shows Vincent threatening to torture a local businessman, texting in broken English: ‘Then we deside weather we slash him, chop his fingers off or wotever.’

He later boasted about slashing the man with a knife, writing ‘slash across face an smashed his eyes in an took half an ear an tonge’. 

After they were charged, Coggins, Woodford, Earle and Jarvis attempted to have the Encrochat evidence thrown out in a bid which could have impacted hundreds of other cases.

In a legal argument seen as a test case for other Encrochat trials, their lawyers claimed the evidence was inadmissible, but their attempt was eventually dismissed by the court.

Most of the defendants pleaded guilty to offences but Jarvis, of Breckside Park, Liverpool, was convicted too – following a trial at Manchester Crown Court – of two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and conspiracy to commit blackmail.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Michael Brasel killed in front yard protecting wife’s car

A St. Paul police car is pictured outside the crime scene (L)…

E. Jean Carroll says Trump’s defamation claim is like satire

Donald Trump and E Jean Carroll (L-R: Trump via Brandon Bell/Getty Images;…

Wealthy New Yorkers are ditching idyllic Manhattan townhouses for doorman-buildings amid fears over soaring crime – with some splashing out up to $50k on security upgrades and even installing panic rooms

Owning a townhouse in Manhattan was once deemed the ultimate status symbol.…

Man jailed for ploughing ute into police van and leaving officers with ‘massive’ injuries

David James Nichols, 30, faced Brisbane District Court on Monday via audio…