A leading member of an organised crime gang who ran a drugs network from his prison cell has lost his appeal against his 20 year jail term.

Kyle Molyneux received one of the longest sentence ever imposed by the Manx courts when he was jailed in August last year.

The appeal court has now dismissed his appeal, describing the deterrent sentence as ‘entirely justified’.

In a judgment, the appeal court judges said: ‘The sentence of 20 years’ custody for this appellant, who played a “pivotal” role in a cross-border OCG which employed violence, intimidation and used the vulnerable in its evil trade of supplying large quantities of heroin and cocaine over a protracted period of time, was entirely justified.

‘The public must be assured that when defendants are incarcerated they will not be free to continue their criminal activities and that anyone caught so doing must face serious punishment, otherwise law and order in prison would break down.

‘In this case a deterrent sentence was plainly called for, for someone whom the prosecution described as “pulling the strings of the OCG whilst in jail”.’

Molyneux, also known as Kyle Johnson, arranged for heroin, cocaine and cannabis to be shipped to the island while on remand at the prison in Jurby for a previous drug importation offence.

He admitted the attempted production of heroin, the production of cocaine, a further count of being concerned in the production of cocaine and conspiracy to commit money laundering offences.

Molyneux, 27, formerly of the Larivane Estate, Andreas, admitted playing a leading role in the drug operation, but denied being the most senior member in the island, and in his guilty plea mentioned that he had a boss in the UK.

He used violence, exploitation and intimidation to sustain his criminal lifestyle.

In 2020, he posted a video of himself taunting police when he fled the island on a fishing boat. He evaded police for four months before he was arrested.