Connah's Quay heroin addict not guilty of manslaughter

Published date: 07 February 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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A HEROIN addict has been cleared of a manslaughter charge.

The prosecution at Mold Crown Court had alleged Gavin Smallman, 52, of Cwrt Cable, Connah’s Quay, had injected another addict with a potentially fatal amount of pure diamorphine, which the defendant obtained on prescription. But during the four-day trial Mr Smallman denied injecting Anthony Williams, who collapsed and died in the bedroom of his own home.

The jury of eight men and four women took a little over an hour to return their unanimous not guilty verdict yesterday.

Judge Merfyn Hughes QC thanked the jury and told Mr Smallman – who had been on bail throughout – he could be discharged.

But he said he was “staggered” the defendant had not also been charged with supplying heroin.

“It really does surprise me,” he said.

After the case, Mr Smallman said: “While the outcome of the trial is pleasing for me, I have not lost sight of the fact a friend has died.

“I am anxious for Anthony Williams’ family to know there are many of us in Connah’s Quay, who mourn the loss of Anthony.”

In evidence, Mr Smallman said he accepted Mr Williams had asked him to swap the ‘class A’ drug for some temazepam. But he said he had refused and would not do so.

Mr Smallman said he bought 40 temazepam tablets from Mr Williams in his bedroom.

However, he told the jury he had not injected Mr Williams with an ampoule of his prescription diamorphine between his finger and thumb. He also denied telling the deceased’s brother he had injected him.

The prosecution alleged Mr Smallman injected Mr Williams, 41, at his home in Upper Bryn Road, Connah’s Quay, on February 1 last year.

Prosecuting barrister Jayne La Grua said 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.

It was claimed by the prosecution that the deceased’s brother Stephen Williams went into the house as Smallman was leaving.

It was alleged that when Stephen Williams asked the defendant what he had given him, that the defendant replied: “I only gave him 25mls.

“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 Mr Smallman had injected him with diamorphine collected from the pharmacy in exchange for a quantity of temazepam tablets.

Anthony Williams collapsed almost immediately, and died soon afterwards.

Paul Smith, defending, told the jury there were inconsistencies in the evidence of prosecution witnesses.

The deceased’s brother claimed to have seen Mr Smallman coming down the stairs while his mother – who had been there at the same time – had not seen him.

It was the defence case Mr Smallman left after purchasing his tablets and had not seen anyone else in the hallway.

He denied making any kind of confession to the deceased’s brother, Mr Smith said.

Mr Smallman told the jury: “I swear on everything, that when I was in the house, Anthony did not collapse. He was fine.”

Mr Smallman told how he had been on five 100ml ampoules of prescribed heroin a day for 12 years and had prescription methadone to help him get through the night.

He described in detail his daily routine which started with attending the pharmacy to get his medication.

He and his brother would care for his parents, and then he would return home, taking ampoules of heroin during the day and then methadone to see him through the night.

Mr Smallman said he had been on drugs for many years as had a lot of his friends, with a number having unfortunately died along the way.

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