Manslaughter trial hears Connah's Quay man died after injection

Published date: 04 February 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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A MAN has gone on trial for manslaughter amid allegations he injected another man with heroin shortly before he died.

Anthony Williams, 41, died at his home address in Connah’s Quay on February 1 last year.

Judge Merfyn Hughes QC heard yesterday how he had a potentially lethal amount of heroin in his blood, together with a large amount of alcohol.

He also tested positive for cocaine, temazepam and a number of prescription drugs.

Tests showed he was not a regular user of heroin in the two months or so before his death.

Prosecuting barrister Jayne La Grua said his tolerance to the drug would have been significantly less then a regular user.

Scott Gavin Smallman, 52, – known as Gavin – denies manslaughter. The prosecution alleges he made an admission to the deceased’s brother he had injected him in his thumb.

But Smallman of Cwrt Cable, Connah’s Quay, denies doing any such thing and has pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter charge.

Opening the case to the jury yesterday, Miss La Grua said it was the prosecution case Smallman unlawfully killed Mr Williams by injecting him with heroin.

Mr Williams lived with his mother Marie Williams, and one of his brothers Stephen Williams, in Upper Bryn Road, Connah’s Quay.

In the past Mr Williams had been addicted to illicit drugs and been prescribed methadone.

To the knowledge of his family he had not taken heroin or methadone for two years before his death.

But he was on prescription drugs including diazepam and he was a heavy drinker and an occasional user of cocaine.

Smallman had been a drug user for many years and received five 100 ml ampoules of diamorphine each day which he injected.

The day before the death it was alleged Mr Williams called Smallman on the defendant’s brother’s phone and then sent a text which read: “I’ll swap ye 4 a ml amp tmoz.”

Miss La Grua said: “The prosecution suggest Mr Williams was looking to swap something for an ampoule of diamorphine.”

Phone records showed Mr Williams called Gavin Smallman at 4am the following morning in which the defendant says the deceased offered to sell him temazepam.

There was a further call at 8.40am.

Later, Anthony Williams was walking in Beechwood Road, Connah’s Quay, when he met Smallman who was in a car with his brother and another man.

They went back to the deceased’s home and, by his own admission, Smallman had already collected his ampoules of injectable heroin.

Smallman did not stay long, but he and Anthony Williams went upstairs. His brother Stephen Williams entered the house and saw Smallman coming downstairs with the deceased behind him.

“Anthony appeared to have taken something,” said Miss La Grua.

“He looked as though he was about to collapse.”

It was alleged that, when Stephen Williams asked the defendant what he had given him, Smallman replied: “I only gave him 25 ml. He asked me to put it in his jugular but I refused and put it in a vein in his thumb.”

Miss La Grua alleged Smallman had injected him with heroin he had collected from the pharmacy and the suggestion was it was in exchange for a quantity of temazepam tablets.

“Anthony Williams collapsed almost immediately,” she said. “His mother, brother and friend Ian Gelder carried him upstairs and put him to bed. At that stage, they thought he would be okay, that he would sleep it off and recover. They went back downstairs.  

“A short while afterwards, they heard a thud and went upstairs.

“They found Anthony Williams lying on the floor. They realised he was gravely ill.”

A paramedic arrived at 10.15am and Mr Williams was not breathing and had no pulse. Attempts to resuscitate him failed and he was pronounced dead at 11.05am.

When Smallman was arrested at his then home in Chestnut Court, Connah’s Quay, it was alleged the police found a large quantity of hypodermic needles, empty ampoules of heroin and a bottle of temazepam tablets.

Forensic pathologist Dr Brian Rodgers carried out a post-mortem examination and found a fresh injection site in Anthony Williams’ right thumb.

Samples of blood were analysed and found to contain a potentially lethal amount of heroin, together with a large amount of alcohol. It also tested positive for cocaine, temazepam and a number of prescription drugs.

The chemical composition of the heroin in his body was such a forensic scientist was able to say it had been taken shortly before death.

A sample of hair showed he had not been a regular user of heroin in the two months or so before death.

The pathologist concluded Mr Williams died as a result of respiratory failure, caused principally by the effects of heroin made more potent by alcohol and benzodiazepine drugs.

The issue for the jury was a simple one, the prosecutor said. They said he injected Mr Williams and that drug caused his death.

Smallman said he had not done so, he only went to his home to get temazepam and that was all he had done.


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