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Gangster freed after he repays pounds 1m.

A CONVICTED gangster said to have "ruled" a town through threats and intimidation, was freed from jail yesterday.

John Gizzi, 36, from St Asaph, Denbighshire, was jailed for five-and-a-half years in 2006 after his trial heard he was a "thug" and "bully" who assaulted homeless people and preyed on the weak and vulnerable in the Rhyl area.

An original order made under the Proceeds of Crime Act found Gizzi had benefited to the tune of pounds 6.89m from his crimes and he was ordered to repay pounds 2.6m, but that figure was based on a valuation of his assets before the recession.

They included a mansion which had been originally valued at pounds 1.7m but eventually sold for pounds 850,000.

He was freed yesterday after a judge at Mold Crown Court heard he had repaid pounds 1m under the Act.

Gizzi had been due for release in December 2008, but he was ordered to serve another seven years because he had failed to repay the original pounds 2.6m.

But on Thursday Judge John Rogers QC reduced the order after the court - which was surrounded by tight police security - was told all his assets had been sold off.

As well as the mansion, 20 other properties were sold and a Rolex watch.

Four number plates - JDG 1 to 4 - had also been sold along with a fleet of luxury cars, including a Bentley Continental, Range Rover and a Mercedes.

Judge Rogers discharged the confiscation order and Gizzi was formally released.

He was freed through a rear door from the custody area at Mold Law Courts, covered with an umbrella and bundled into the back of his parents' Range Rover.

He was then driven out of the car park and across the road to The Glasfryn pub.

An application by prosecutor Simon Mills that Gizzi should be responsible for the costs of the CPS and the receiver appointed to sell the property was rejected.

The court heard the regional asset recovery team could pursue Gizzi for more money if they thought he could afford it in the future.

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FREED: John Gizzi
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 6, 2009
Words:356
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