County lines drugs murder case concludes
January 15, 2020
Four county lines drug dealers have been convicted following a trial which started on the 4th November 2019 in the Maidstone Crown Court of killing a vulnerable drug addict. The case was prosecuted by Richard Barraclough QC leading Danny Moore.
The man who stabbed the victim to the heart was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 27 years. He was described by the judge as having committed the murder, motivated by an entrenched desire to establish control of the drugs market in the county town and in revenge for an earlier robbery with machetes of his 17 year old exploited runner. The “runner” had been the subject of a national referral mechanism. An aggravating feature was the County Lines element. The man who played a leading role in the planning of the expedition to exact revenge although he had not shared the intention to murder with the knife and who had given the order to “punch” or “slap” was sentenced to 20 years for manslaughter, the driver 18 years and the 17 year old “runner” 18 years. The judge described them as having gone to Maidstone in order to teach those who had set up the robbery a lesson. The plan she said had been executed without mercy. The “runner” she said had been naïve and vulnerable but had been groomed by the others and corrupted until he willingly involved himself in the dealing.