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Locked up: The conmen, domestic abusers, and drug gang members jailed in Newport in the past month

The coronavirus pandemic continues to dominate headlines but the justice system has still managed to catch up with these criminals.

Courts in Wales are running at a reduced capacity in Wales due to the pandemic, with social distancing and remote attendance among measures allowing court rooms to remain open.

Many criminals in Newport have been sentenced for their crimes committed around the city in the past month.

They include a conman who posed as his own deceased uncle as he attempted to steal a large pension pot, a man who drove his car into his brother-in-law and left him for dead in a “revenge attack”, and a jealous boyfriend who held an imitation firearm to the head of his girlfriend.

Here are the criminals and their crimes.

David Rista



David Rista, 25, was jailed for 11 years for driving into his brother-in-law in Newport

David Rista deliberately drove a black Vauxhall Corsa into his then brother-in-law following a previous altercation between the two.

The 25-year-old left his victim Sturugurel Lacatus with serious injuries including a brain injury, skull fracture, subdural haemorrhage, a broken back, fractured ribs and a collapsed lung.

The attack took place on Wharf Road, Newport, on October 8 last year.

Rista was found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and causing serious injury by dangerous driving following a trial at Cardiff Crown Court. He was found not guilty of the most serious charge of attempted murder.

He was sentenced to a total of 11 years in prison and was disqualified from driving for nine-and-a-half years.

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James Bufton



James Bufton was sentenced to six years in prison for various fraud offences

James Bufton convinced family, friends and business associates to hand over large sums of money by conning them into thinking he was a wealthy and successful stockbroker willing to invest their capital.

The 26-year-old promised them healthy returns on their investments with little risk.

In fact, Bufton wasn’t an accredited stockbroker and didn’t invest his victim’s money in legitimate stock.

Newport Crown Court heard Bufton developed a system of “robbing Peter to pay Paul”, which would see him attract new victims in order to pay back previous ones.



James Bufton impressed his victims with the appearance of an opulent lifestyle

Among his victims, whom he scammed out of a total of £253,000, were his aunt and uncle, the father of a former girlfriend, and a close family friend.

In the case of his uncle, he repeatedly posed as his victim while he was seriously ill in hospital, and after he had died, in order to obtain money from his pension fund.

Bufton was sentenced to a total of six years in prison.

Stefan Ramsden



Stefan Ramsden, 29, held an imitation firearm ex girlfriend Chelsea Jones’ head and threatened her

Stefan Ramsden attacked his former girlfriend Chelsea Jones at his flat in Newport on December 22 last year in an assault that included punches, kicks, headbutting and whips with a belt.

The 29-year-old held an imitation handgun to his victim’s head and threatened to kill her and her family.

Following his arrest, Ramsden phoned Chelsea Jones and emotionally blackmailed her by telling her he had “suffered enough” after missing Christmas with his children, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

He was sentenced to a total of three years in prison.

Otis Jeffries



Otis Jeffries
Otis Jeffries

After donning a balaclava and arming himself with a knife, Otis Jeffries kicked down the door of the Victoria Hotel on Corporation Road, Newport.

Jeffries, 25, had followed his ex to a party being held in one of the hotel rooms on August 3, 2020.

While still wearing the mask, Newport Crown Court heard Jeffries grabbed the woman by the hair and threatened her with the knife.

He then escaped through a fire exit and discarded the weapon through a window.

He was sentenced to 10 months in prison.



The Victoria Hotel on Corporation Road

Martin Harris



Martin Harris was sentenced to three years in prison
Martin Harris was sentenced to three years in prison

Martin Harris was barred from contacting his former partner Gemma Wollan after being convicted of assaulting her at a Pontins holiday park in September last year.

But Harris, 30, continued to contact his victim resulting in a violent assault on Ms Wollan at an address in Newport in June.

Ms Wollan described waking up to Harris grabbing her hair with one hand while repeatedly punching her face with the other, a sentencing hearing at Newport Crown Court heard.

The judge said Harris was “repeatedly raining in blows” with both fists and called his victim a “f***ing slag”.

He was jailed for a total of three years and an amended restraining order was put in place for a period of five years.

Lewis Wilkins



Lewis Wilkins, 27, racially abused and spat at officers who arrested him in Newport city centre

Lewis Wilkins’ assault on three police officers saw him racially abuse one officer and spit in the face of another.

Wilkins, 27, was arrested in Newport city centre on March 3, 2019, following reports of an assault.

He was handcuffed and taken to police custody but became extremely aggressive while resisting the officers’ attempts to place him in a cell.

A sentencing hearing at Cardiff Crown Court on Tuesday heard PC Gedminas Palubinskas had his thigh grabbed and twisted by Wilkins who said “We don’t like each other, f****** Polish” and “Polish c***”.

PC Bobby Hendry was also assaulted when Wilkins kicked him in the leg and PC Theo Mills was spat at in the face after Wilkins had cleared his nose.

It took several officers to restrain the defendant, who was kept handcuffed in a large holding cell overnight.

The defendant was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.

The ‘Goshi line’ drugs gang



(Clockwise from top left) Aftab Hussain, Rizwaan Hussain, Avtar Hussain, Mohammed Ali, Murtaza Hussain, and Parvis Ishaq have all been jailed
(Clockwise from top left) Aftab Hussain, Rizwaan Hussain, Avtar Hussain, Mohammed Ali, Murtaza Hussain, and Parvis Ishaq have all been jailed

Last month a “sophisticated and determined” group of drug dealers were jailed for their part in a conspiracy which saw thousands of pounds worth of drugs traded in Newport.

The group of seven men sold an estimated £261,000-worth of crack cocaine and heroin on the streets of Newport over an eight-and-a-half month period in 2018 and 2019.

Customers would call a phone line, known as the “Goshi line”, before meeting a dealer who sold them the Class A drugs, a sentencing hearing at Cardiff Crown Court heard.

Prosecutors said the leader of the group, Aftab Hussain, ran the phone line service with others acting as “lieutenants” on his behalf.

The 31-year-old from Newport was sentenced to 17 years behind bars for his role in the conspiracy while those working for him received lesser sentences.

Dawn Maloney



Dawn Maloney, 35, burgled five elderly people in order to fund her drug addiction

Dawn Maloney, 35, carried out five burglaries near her home in Newport over the course of two months, targeting victims aged between 64 and 82-years-old who were cared for in some capacity.

In most of the thefts, Maloney would ask her victim “to get some water for her dog” but would then follow them into their houses before offering to sell them something.

When their backs were turned, she would steal various amounts of cash as well as cigarettes and, on one occasion, a bank card.

Maloney was sentenced to three years imprisonment.

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