A Brighton man who tried to avoid drugs charges by admitting the wraps of “heroin” found on him were actually mud has instead been convicted of fraud.
Kierron White, 20, told officers he had put the soil into wraps with a view to selling it to “junkies” after it was found on him on 14 September.
The search happened after he was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend, a vulnerable young rough sleeper, in the city centre earlier that day.
White, of Oriental Place, Brighton, was due to stand trial at Brighton Magistrates Court today but failed to turn up and was convicted of assault and possessing an article for use in fraud in his absence.
The court heard his girlfriend, Emily, had pleaded with a member of the public to call the police as White chased her along Regency Square and Queensbury Mews.
Sophia Khan told the court White had made a bizarre “whsssst” noise as he leapt onto the young woman from behind.
Emily, who was wearing several blankets, had managed to wrestle free but he pursued her and jumped on her again.
Ms Khan borrowed another passer by’s phone to call police and officers recognised her description of Emily.
They knew she was in a relationship with White and arrested him later that day.
When he was searched, the wraps were found and were originally listed in police paperwork as suspected Class A drugs. But in a bid to escape drugs charges, White told officers it was just mud – and was instead charged with fraud.
PC Wilcox told the court: “He denied these were Class A drugs and said they were dirt from the ground and that he had put them together with the intention of selling them to ‘junkies’ in order to make some money.”
He added: “The suspect was interviewed without a solicitor stating he had done nothing wrong and didn’t need one.
“He had been with the victim since waking up with her in a field because she’s homeless and he stays with her to make sure she’s safe.
“The victim had been shouting at him saying he had cheated on her, which he admitted.
“He has run up behind her with the intention of punching her but then stopped himself and put his arms around her from behind and gave her a hug.
“He was angry that members of the public were making him out to be a monster.
“He is a drug user as well and I got the impression that he was itching to get out because of the time he had been in custody.”
Finding White guilty, district judge Amanda Kelly said: “I have carefully considered the proposition that what took place may have been a hug but I’m quite sure that it was not, that it was at the time a hostile act.
“The defendant accepts that he had been intending to hit the woman in question and it took place in the context of a domestic argument.
“I also find the second charge proven. The defendant by his own admission had put together a package with which he could try and deceive vulnerable drug users to believe that it was genuinely heroin when in fact it was nothing of the sort.”
A warrant not backed for bail was issued for White, which means he will be arrested by police and then brought back for sentencing.
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