Weston’s worst kept secret
- Credit: BBC
A woman who ‘exploited’ sex workers to run a Weston brothel has been jailed after making almost half a million pounds.
Natalie Davis, who ran Butterfly’s in Alexandra Parade was sentenced to two years and six months in prison for controlling prostitution for financial gain at Bristol Crown Court on Friday.
Davis, of Bristol Road, in Hewish, had the women who worked at the property fill in time sheets and deposit their earnings in a safe on the premises.
Judge Mark Horton said: “Some women worked regularly at the brothel for a number of years, and some would book a room for a week, or weekend.
“The one major factor was she was receiving 50 per cent of their earnings.”
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The court was told Davis, aged 51, had made ‘at least £450,000’ from the operation over 10 years.
Judge Horton said: “You exploited women in the sex industry who you employed for very serious and substantial financial gain.”
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Prosecutor Mary Cowe said Davis did not recruit the workers as she received offers from many to work there.
The prosecution admitted workers were not coerced into working at, or abused at the establishment.
Ms Cowe said: “The women said they were fine and happy to be there.”
At any one time six women could be working at the three-bedroom house.
CCTV cameras were also placed in public areas of the establishment and in the area containing the safe.
It was later revealed that women were being offered for sex at the establishment online and on Facebook.
Following a BBC report in February 2017 which revealed Butterfly’s was a brothel, three undercover officers were sent to the house and all were offered sex by workers in their 20s and 30s at the ’massage parlour’.
When the house was raided by police in November 2017 officers detained two women working at the establishment,and found £1,400 in cash, sex toys and dozens of boxes of condoms.
Brendan Moorhouse, defending, said his client’s intention was to protect workers by running a safe and secure establishment.
He said: “She paid taxes on income. Everything else was perfectly legal and regulated.
“She was making sure people were treated properly and not trafficked.
“When the police are made aware of these kinds of operations they will conduct welfare checks to see if the workers are OK.
“If they are well run and there is no evidence of trafficking they do not take any action against them.
You know the reason for these proceedings is because of publicity.”