A racketeer who headed a family-run chain of brothels around Ireland and Wales has failed to convince top judges his seven-year jail term was excessive.

Thomas Joseph Carroll, aged 48, of Castlemartin, was jailed at Cardiff Crown Court after admitting conspiracy to control prostitutes and launder money.

His wife, Shamiela, who admitted identical charges, got three-and-a-half years, while his daughter, Toma Carroll, who pleaded guilty to the money laundering conspiracy, got two years.

Toma Carroll was based in the Republic of Ireland and channelled funds from her father’s prostitution rackets in Wales into ‘clean’ accounts, London’s Appeal Court heard on Tuesday. He used those ‘laundered’ funds to invest in lucrative legitimate property deals in the Balkans, Ireland and the UK.

Carroll initially based his prostitution operation in Ireland, but switched his activities to Wales. A vicarage near Castlemartin became the base for Carroll’s revived operation, said Lord Justice Hooper, with Carroll running a string of women housed in flats.

Although some of the women knew what they were getting into, others were vulnerable youngsters who had been ‘trafficked’ into the UK.

Carroll had no involvement in trafficking the girls – some of whom were lured to the UK following bizarre witch doctor rituals in West Africa – but he turned a blind eye to their backgrounds, the Appeal Court heard.

Lord Justice Hooper, sitting with Mr Justice Butterfield and Mr Justice Kenneth Parker, remarked on the hefty scale of Carroll’s vice operation, which reaped turnover topping 1million euros in one financial year. He was behind 35 brothels in Northern and southern Ireland, the court heard, and must have been well aware of the “climate of fear” under which the women worked.

His sentence was not “manifestly excessive”, the judge concluded, dismissing Carroll’s appeal.