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Friday, 22 August 2014

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‘I’d no idea my partner was involved in dealing’ - Barrow woman

A MAN who denies being part of a conspiracy to supply drugs has told a court he felt “angry and bewildered” when arrested.

Jason Benzie insisted in his evidence to a jury at Preston Crown Court he had absolutely no idea his partner was involved in drug dealing, or that she had heroin and cocaine in the Barrow home they shared.

He accepts he sometimes used heroin, getting the drug from suppliers in town.

He didn’t think that his partner Vicky Bryan knew about that.

The 37-year-old denies charges of conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine. The couple were living in Vulcan Road, Barrow, at the time of his arrest in July last year. Bryan was one of a number of people arrested as part of the overall investigation and has admitted her part in a drug supply network.

The jury has heard a Merseyside man played a leading role in the drug gang.

Giving evidence to the jury yesterday, Benzie was asked by his lawyer Gareth James: “Were you involved in a conspiracy to supply drugs in Barrow?”

The defendant responded “absolutely not”.

He gave the same reply when then asked if he had been aware Bryan had been involved. Benzie explained he had been a heroin user, but stayed away from the drug for a while about eight years ago.

He started taking heroin again following the death of his father in April last year.

At that time, his £400 weekly wage as an electrician paid for his habit which cost £30-£40 a week.

He carried on using the drug when he lost his job and was still taking heroin around the time of the police raid on his semi-detached home in July last year.

However, he was unaware if his partner was taking drugs.

The defendant also said he knew nothing about a series of text conversations on a mobile phone seized by police during a search of the couple’s home.

He also said he did not make any of 29 calls to a particular phone number, over a certain period of days last year.

Benzie said his partner had started using his phone, having run out of credit on her own.

She was found in possession of £700-worth of heroin and cocaine in a Kinder egg capsule during the police search.

Asked how he felt when arrested and interviewed, Benzie described himself feeling “angry, I was bewildered as to what was going on”.

The trial continues.

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