A dad-of-two claimed he sold crack cocaine and heroin so his wife and children’s home wasn’t petrol bombed.
Kelvin Fyles said was acting on the orders of a “loan shark” when police caught him dealing Class A drugs for the “first time”
The 34-year-old borrowed £400 to buy his children Christmas presents and insisted he had “no choice” when he fell behind with repayments, Liverpool Echo reported.
While a judge accepted this explanation on July 1, Fyles was jailed despite his fears of being sent to a woman’s prison, after living as a male since the age of eight.
During the hearing Fyles of Spellow Lane, Walton, cried.
Liverpool Crown Court heard police spotted a black Ford Focus parked in Kingsland Crescent, Norris Green, on October 22 last year.
Kenneth Grant, prosecuting, said Fyles was at the wheel and a “dishevelled” man in his late 50s was sitting in the passenger seat.
He said Fyles seemed “startled” when officers pulled up alongside the Ford and was “fidgeting”, while the passenger, who had up to £50 in cash in his right hand which he put back in a wallet, “looked like he was about to run off”.
An officer approached “very nervous” Fyles, who was “physically shaking” as a mobile phone could be heard ringing and tried to hide something.
Police searched the car and found a plastic food bag containing 24 wraps of heroin and 45 wraps of crack cocaine, plus the phone and £140 in cash.
The heroin, weighing 4.59g, and crack cocaine, weighing 5.2g, was divided into £10 “street deals” and valued at £690 in total.
Fyles, who wouldn’t say who the car belonged to, only had a provisional licence and wasn’t insured.
His home was searched when his wife and children were present, but no further drugs were recovered.
Mr Grant said: “While sat in the police vehicle following his arrest the defendant explained he, his wife and children were struggling on Universal Credit and this was his first time dealing drugs.”
Fyles cried throughout an interview when he told officers his wife was unaware of a debt he was paying off and he had been approached to sell drugs to clear it.
He said he was given the drugs, phone and car and told his family would be harmed if he didn’t do it. Fyles admitted possessing crack cocaine and heroin with intent to supply.
The prosecution argued Fyles played a “significant role” in dealing the drugs due to the expectation of financial gain.
But defence lawyers argued it was a “lesser role” case and selling the drugs only would have paid off his loan.
Brendan Carville, defending, said Fyles stood by comments made in a pre-sentence report and Judge Robert Trevor-Jones called him to give evidence.
Fyles cried as he told the court he borrowed £400 from a “loan shark” to buy presents for their children because “we were struggling at Christmas”, but after paying back £200 the interest was “going up and up” and he was threatened.
He said he had to meet the loan shark at a cafe in Fazakerley, who gave him the phone and car, then in Norris Green, to collect the drugs.
Fyles said he had sold two or three wraps to just two customers before police arrived.
Asked by Mr Carville if he had ever previously been threatened, he said “I’ve had me face broken on the same estate”, which he accepted was by different people, but said led to him moving home twice.
Under questioning by Mr Grant, Fyles said he had to pay back £500 in total, at a rate of £100 per month, but missed a payment when his benefits were stopped.
He said: “I got told my house would be petrol bombed with my wife and children.”
Fyles said he couldn’t name the loan shark or go to the police as he and his family would be in danger and when he was caught “I was glad because I thought it would be over”.
Mr Carville said this explanation was one his client “instantaneously” gave to police.
Judge Trevor-Jones said whatever “cynicism” might be associated with claims of this sort, the evidence wasn’t sufficient to make him sure it wasn’t true and accepted it was a “lesser role” case.
Mr Carville urged the judge to spare Fyles jail and said he was the sole primary carer for his partner, sitting at the back of court, who has a “severe mental illness”, and two children.
He said Fyles’ two previous convictions related to “rows” with his mum and the Probation Service was willing to work with him.
Mr Carville said: “Since the age of eight he has lived as a male and to go to prison immediately today would mean going to a female prison and that in my respectful submission would be a terrible matter for him to deal with.”
Judge Trevor-Jones said Fyles’ partner was “clearly very ill as far as mental health is concerned”, adding: “You yourself have your own issues, which has led to significant problems in the past and I accept that’s the case.
“I’m not going to go into detail about it, but the report sets out clearly traumatic experiences, which you have experienced.”
The judge said Fyles had “significant personal mitigation” and taking into account his guilty plea, reduced his sentence to 18 months in jail.
However, he said dealing Class A drugs was so serious it must be served immediately.
Fyles sobbed in the dock, turned to his wife and repeatedly said “I’m so sorry” and “I’m scared”, as she wailed and shouted “I love you” and “this can’t happen”.
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