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Jailed Plymouth Promoter Appeals ::

Reported by Ben Stroud on October 17, 2008

DJ Tom Costelloe is appealing against his five year sentence for tolerating ecstasy sales at Plymouth superclub the Academy, following the launch of a campaign to release him by British dance magazine Mixmag.

The highly experienced house DJ and erstwhile Academy manager was sent to prison in August under British ‘Rave Act’ style laws, despite judge Francis Gilbert QC explicitly agreeing that Tom had no involvement in drug dealing.

“I will accept that in terms of profit your gain was very limited; if anything, you were underpaid,” the judge commented when passing sentence, “Your profit was in being the man running the biggest club in the South West.”

Tom’s partner Kelly Mogford told Skrufff the appeal has been lodged with London’s High Court and said Tom is bearing up despite being locked up in prison.

“Tom’s up and down in terms of his mood, he’s trying to stay positive for the appeal, but it’s hard when everything else hasn’t gone your way,” she pointed out.

“He’s trying to take his mind off things by keeping busy in there, going to the gym etc. but he just misses life so much. He’s locked up from 7pm to 8am and is so bored, he says time passes so slowly in there. He’s recently managed to get a tape player in his cell, so I’ve been doing him some tapes, keeping him up to date with new releases. It’s the first time he’s heard music in 3 months,” she said.

Kelly said prison visits remain fraught (‘you’re tjust another 'criminal’s girlfriend / wife / friend- which is hard when you know he’s not a criminal and shouldn’t be in there’) though said he’s encouraged by support from fellow inmates.

“The other prisoners are sympathetic- they have all read the story in the papers and in Mixmag and think its ridiculous that he’s in there - they keep telling him that he will be out sooner rather than later,” she revealed.

“The campaign is also great, it’s made a lot of people aware of the case and it really means a lot to both Tom and myself. The support he’s receiving is really keeping him going and we’re hoping it will have some impact, though we’ll have to see what happens in court,” she said.

She also predicted a bleak festive season for the couple admitting ‘if he’s not here then Christmas will be just another day. Though it would be nice to think that Tom’s appeal would go through and he’s released,” she added.

Club owner Manoucehr Bahmanzadeh, who was sentenced to nine years in the same case, is also appealing . (Free the Plymouth 2: support the campaign here)

Jonty Skrufff (