Northampton teen took on brother's drug debt to avoid being 'shot' or 'splashed with acid'

A Northampton teenager claims he was forced into selling drugs under threat of being "shot or having acid thrown in his face", a court heard.

Wednesday, 1st May 2019, 9:53 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st May 2019, 9:58 am
An 18-year-old drug dealer claimed in court he was forced into crime for fear of "being shot".

Jamal Robinson, 18, from Blackthorn, was first arrested on March 12 this year when he ran from police officers in Kettering and threw away a plastic 'baggy' pouch filled with crack and heroin into a bush.

But Northampton Crown Court heard yesterday (April 30) how Robinson reportedly was forced into drug dealing as "a last resort" when he inherited his brother's debts to other criminals - and he feared being "shot" if he did not come through with the money.

Robinson's defence barrister Miss Hannah Williams said: "[Robinson's] offending started when his brother went to jail [...] when subsequently certain individuals came to him instead to settle his brother's debts.

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"He tried to pay the money back himself [...] but began selling drugs as a last resort.

"He feared being shot or having acid thrown in his face if he did not pay... When he was arrested, officers heard him saying he 'did not know how he would pay back his debt'."

The court heard how, after Robinson's first arrest, police found some £220 worth of crack cocaine and heroin on him as well as £320 in cash.

The 18-year-old was released on bail - but police encountered him again when they carried out a search warrant on a flat in Eskdaill, Kettering.

In the flat, officers found £550 in crack cocaine and heroin, and a further £730 in cash. Robinson was arrested for a second time.

At court, Robinson covered his face when he heard the maximum sentence for his dealing was seven years.

Miss Williams told the judge the teenager pleaded guilty to the offending at the first opportunity and was "deeply regretful".

But His Honour Judge Rupert Mayo was not moved.

He told the teenager: "I cannot take a lenient course of action.

"You went straight back to offending.

"If you had been of good character after your first arrest I would have considered it... but your repeated offending so soon after your being arrested means I cannot suspend this sentence."

Robinson was handed 32 months detention in a young offenders' facility. The police will also claim the £773 found in the flat in Kettering.