A MAN alleged to be the leader of a drugs supply gang in Deeside has dramatically changed his plea and admitted murdering an alleged rival supplier.

David John Woods, 20, had denied murdering Matthew Cassidy during a trial at Mold Crown Court.

But following delays on day four of the trial yesterday, Woods’ barrister asked that the charge be put to him again and he pleaded guilty to murder.

Mr Justice Clive Lewis asked the jury to return a formal guilty verdict.

“Given what you have heard and given his plea of guilty, you may think that is the strongest possible evidence of his guilt to the charge of murder,” he told the jury members.

The foreman stood and confirmed that they formally found him guilty.

Mr Justice Lewis told Woods he was now convicted of murder of 19-year-old Mr Cassidy, of Huyton in Liverpool and in due course he would need to be sentenced for that offence, and an offence of perverting the course of justice, which he admitted at the start of the trial.

He told Woods, of Douglas Place in Liverpool: “The sentence for murder is life imprisonment. I also have to fix the minimum term you will have to serve before you are eligible for parole.

“That will not be done today. That will be done on a separate occasion.”

The court has heard Mr Cassidy was stabbed nine times in a dispute over what was alleged to be the sale of hard drugs.

One of the stab wounds penetrated Mr Cassidy’s heart and he died from massive internal bleeding, said prosecuting barrister Paul Lewis QC.

It was shortly before 8pm on Monday, May 29 last year that Mr Cassidy was stabbed to death in the stairwell of a block of flats at Bethel Place in Connah’s Quay High Street.

Co-defendant Leslie Peter Baines, 48, of King’s Road in Connah’s Quay, denies murder and his case is expected to continue on today.