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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Carlisle teen denies knowledge of £22k heroin in wardrobe

Heroin with a street value of £22,000 was found in Carlisle teenager’s bedroom after police found her in her car with a self-confessed Merseyside drug dealer, a court heard.

Hannah Fisher, 18, told police the package must have been dumped at the bottom of her wardrobe by 20-year-old Stephen Townsend when he used the lavatory on his one and only visit to her home in Kirkbrae Avenue, Belah, the day before.

At Carlisle Crown Court Fisher has pleaded not guilty to jointly possessing the heroin with intent to supply it.

She has also denied a similar charge in relation to £3,000-worth of cocaine which police found in the footwell in front of the passenger seat upon which Townsend was sitting when they stopped her car on September 8 last year.

The jury has heard that Townsend, of Hardy Street, Warrington, has already pleaded guilty to both charges.

Prosecuting counsel Hugh Barton told the court that when police stopped the car on Etterby Scaur they noticed a strong smell of cannabis. Townsend was behaving suspiciously, as if trying to hide something under his seat, he said. And when he got out, 13 bags of cannabis fell to the floor.

The plastic package in the footwell was then spotted, which turned out to contain 14 separate packs of crack cocaine.

Mr Barton said that when, after her arrest, Fisher was told the police planned to search her home she “became very nervous, started to physically shake and became tearful.”

When interviewed by police Fisher said she knew nothing of the cocaine in her car or the heroin in her bedroom. She said she had known Townsend for about a week and was aware that he had come to Carlisle with two male friends, though she did not know why.

She said that the day before they were arrested Townsend had been to her house, but “only briefly” to use the toilet.

Fisher told police that on the day they stopped her she and Townsend were “just driving around doing things”.

Mr Barton warned the jury that just because Townsend had admitted being a dealer it did not mean Fisher was guilty too.

“His guilt does not prove hers,” he said. “You must consider her case separately. The issue is likely to be whether she was in on it with him or whether he was acting on his own without her knowledge.”

But he added: “The only sensible explanation is that she was in on it – that for whatever reason he persuaded her to let him store these drugs in her bedroom.”

The trial continues.

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