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Gloucestershire Business News

£6,000 of drugs found on comatose drug dealer in hospital

A disabled 42 year old drug addict who tried to kill himself was found to have more than £6,000 worth of heroin and cocaine in his clothing when he was lying comatose in hospital, a court heard yesterday.

The £5,020 worth of heroin and £1,030 worth of crack cocaine that fell from Daniel Keen's clothes in Cheltenham General Hospital convinced police that he must be dealing in the drugs.

But at Gloucester crown court on Friday the prosecution did not proceed against Keen, of Lee close, Cheltenham, on charges of possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply.

Prosecutor Janine Wood accepted that apart from the sheer quantity of drugs there was no other evidence that Lee had been dealing - no messages on his phone, no large sums of money in his possession, and no sign that he had been packaging the drugs into deal-sized bags.

It was therefore unrealistic to pursue the supply charges, she said.

Lee, who uses a mobility scooter and walking frame, and who is pale, sunken-cheeked and appears to be far older than his 42 years, sat motionless in the dock, staring down at the floor, throughout yesterday's hearing.

While waiting to be called into court he had sat in the corridor outside lying back on a chair with his feet up on his walker.

He admitted possession of the drugs and was sentenced to 6 months jail suspended for a year.

Mrs Wood told the court that on Dec 19 last year Lee was admitted to hospital after taking an opiate overdose.

He was treated by staff and then admitted. When his belongings were being moved staff found a package which they considered to be controlled drugs so they called the police.

Wood remained in an unconscious state in hospital for some time before arrest.

When interviewed, he said that Christmas was always a bad time for him as he had no family and he had decided to end his life. He said he had heard about a 'stash' of drugs hidden locally so he found it and took an overdose.

However, it did not work so he decided to get himself admitted to hospital because he thought a cannula would be inserted to treat him and he would then be able to put the drugs into it and kill himself intravenously, he stated.

Joe Maloney, defending, said Keen suffers from a variety of illnesses and disabilities including emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and in 2012 was violently attacked and suffered injuries which resulted in him having 11 metal plates inserted in his head.

"He suffered brain damage," said Mr Maloney. "He has renal problems. He has a carer three times a week. He is now engaging with his GP to try to deal with his heroin addiction."

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