MP's fury at drug dealer's sentence

By Lisa CleverdonAN MP has called for a judicial review into why a drug dealer was only handed a three-hour custodial sentence for supplying heroin to a man who subsequently died.

By Lisa Cleverdon

AN MP has called for a judicial review into why a drug dealer was only handed a three-hour custodial sentence for supplying heroin to a man who subsequently died.

Richard Spring, the Conservative MP for West Suffolk, has pledged his support for Kevin Wheeler's widow, Maria, who said she would not give up in her pursuit of justice over her husband's death.

He has asked the Suffolk Crown Prosecution Service and Magistrates' Courts Committee to seek a judicial review of the sentence handed to David Byrne.


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Mr Wheeler, a father-of-two, from Ingham, died on March 25 after taking an overdose of heroin. The body of the 36-year-old was found slumped outside the Quaker Meeting House in Bury St Edmunds.

Byrne, 37, of Tayfen Road in Bury St Edmunds, pleaded guilty last month to supplying a class A drug to Mr Wheeler.

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He was ordered by Sudbury magistrates to remain in police cells until the court rose - and it is believed he then served less than three hours in custody.

Mr Spring said: “Mrs Wheeler is utterly shocked and horrified by this decision. I share her view about the leniency of the sentence.

“In addition, I have received feedback from detectives involved in the case that they are equally appalled by the outcome.

“What message does this send out to Byrne and any other drug dealer thinking about the possible consequences of being court supplying drugs?”

As well as a judicial review, Mr Spring has asked for a full report on the case and a summary of what led the magistrates to pass such a lenient sentence.

Mrs Wheeler, from Coney Weston, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that I have the support of Mr Spring.

“I have written a letter to Home Secretary David Blunkett to ask how I am supposed to bring my children up to have faith in the system when they have seen this take place.

“Up until now I thought I was going to have to fight this battle on my own, but I am so pleased that Mr Spring is behind me and I can't wait to see what the response is from the Crown Prosecution Service.”

A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed it had received a letter from Mr Spring and said the matter had been dealt with.

“All complaints, whether they are from an MP or not, are passed on to our chief crown prosecutor,” he added.

“A letter has been written back to Mr Spring to explain the situation. We take all complaints very seriously and we are keen to deal with them as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

lisa.cleverdon@eadt.co.uk

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