Drug addict's Leamington flat targeted by big city drug dealers - The Leamington Observer

Drug addict's Leamington flat targeted by big city drug dealers

A DRUG-USER whose Leamington flat was ‘cuckooed’ by a gang who pressured him into acting as a dealer was caught when the police spotted him acting suspiciously.

And then while Paul Murphy was on bail, he breached a restraining order by going to his grandmother’s home, terrifying her and stealing money to support his addiction.

But after spending some time in prison on remand, Murphy escaped being sent back to serve a sentence when he appeared at Warwick Crown Court.

He had pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of heroin and crack cocaine, acting in breach of a restraining order, theft, assault and causing damage.

The 32 year-old, of Ashlawn House, Forfield Place, was sentenced to 22 months in prison suspended for 18 months, and was ordered to take part in a rehabilitation activity for 25 days.

Prosecutor Rachel Pennington said in September 2017 police officers saw Murphy acting suspiciously in Tachbrook Road so they stopped to speak to him.

He was searched and was found to have 26 wraps of crack cocaine and 13 of heroin, all in £10 street deals.

Murphy was originally charged with possessing the drugs with intent to supply them, but his plea to an alternative offence of being concerned in their supply was accepted.

He entered his plea on the basis that he had been coerced into becoming involved at a time when he was struggling with his own addiction and with schizophrenia.

Miss Pennington said: “There was evidence that his address had been cuckooed by people far more involved than him.”

It was also believed he had been subjected to violence at the hand of others during a period the flats at Ashlawn House were under observation.

Murphy was released on bail, and in December last year, in breach of a restraining order imposed following previous incidents, he went to his grandmother’s home in Leamington.

It was her 88th birthday – but Murphy was there to take rather than to give, and he asked his grandmother, who believed he needed help for his mental health, for money.

She knew he was homeless at that time and had already been giving him £10 every couple of days for food, so she refused.

Murphy became angry and began searching the house for money, and he threw a milk jug through a window in the front door before going upstairs where he stole two £10 notes.

He then turned the television round so his grandmother could not watch it and struck her to the left side of her face.

Through the lounge window his grandmother’s neighbours could see him standing over her, holding her by the shoulder and shouting at her aggressively, so they called the police.

He was still doing so when officers arrived, and he was arrested, said Miss Pennington, who added that Murphy had four convictions since April 2017, mainly for thefts – which she said gave evidence to his addiction being comparatively recent.

Graeme Simpson, defending, said Murphy was a longstanding paranoid schizophrenic who has problems if he does not take his medication, but everything fell apart after he was introduced to class A drugs around three years ago.

Of the drug offence, he said: “This is a ‘county lines’ case, which is prevalent now. It’s gangs operating from larger cities like Birmingham and London coming to small towns like Leamington.

“This is a classic cuckooing case, taking over an addict’s flat. He can’t really recall it because he was off his face most of the time. He’s been preyed upon and fed a constant diet of heroin and crack cocaine to get him to comply.”

Mr Simpson said the incident with his grandmother had been at a time when Murphy had stopped taking his medication.

Sentencing Murphy, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told him: “You seem to have some insight into where the problems come from, it’s the drugs and not taking the medication. If you can get them under control, you can get your life back together.”

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