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Prostitution trial mother acquitted

A mother-of-two has been acquitted of controlling prostitutes for gain by running a high-class escort agency.

Marie McKinlay was alleged to have made more than £350,000 in less than two-and-a-half years by providing girls to clients who would pay up to £300 an hour for their services.

The 40-year-old was accused of setting up The Allure Agency, recruiting and interviewing prostitutes and renting a flat in the London Bridge area of the capital for clients to meet them.

She was alleged to have charged the prostitutes 30% commission on everything they earned and between December 2008 and May last year had £354,579.71 paid into her account.

The trial at London's Southwark Crown Court heard McKinlay put her children through private school and paid £1,500 a month rent for her house in Southampton with the money she earned.

But jurors unanimously found her not guilty of a charge of controlling prostitution for gain and of a charge of converting criminal property.

Wearing a brown jumper and black trousers, McKinlay, of Lewisham, south east London, held her hand up to her mouth and looked relieved as the verdicts were read out.

When giving evidence during her defence case, McKinlay told jurors: "My two favourite things in the world are money and sex, I absolutely love both of them, and a job that allows me to put them both together, why wouldn't I?"

After her arrest, she was said to have told police she had created a "new type of agency" - a "new business model thought up over a couple of bottles of Chardonnay at Selfridges".

McKinlay said it was "not an appropriate" time to talk as she left the court.

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