Widow blasts court sentence

A HEARTBROKEN widow last night condemned the legal system after a drug dealer who sold heroin to her husband shortly before he died served just three hours in police cells.

A HEARTBROKEN widow last night condemned the legal system after a drug dealer who sold heroin to her husband shortly before he died served just three hours in police cells.

Kevin Wheeler's widow Maria vowed to fight the decision which she says has failed her and her grieving family in the wake of the tragic death of her “best friend and soul mate”.

She said drug dealer David Byrne should have been jailed for longer, and she believed he deserved to “rot in hell”.

Byrne, 37, of Tayfen Road, Bury, pleaded guilty on March 31 to supplying 36-year-old Mr Wheeler with heroin. Mr Wheeler - who had not used drugs before according to his wife - later died.


You may also want to watch:


But Mrs Wheeler slammed Sudbury magistrates after they said Byrne's punishment should be to remain in police cells until the court rose - around three hours later.

She said the court's decision implied it was “okay to deal drugs”.

Most Read

Mr Wheeler, an electrician from Coney Weston, had been planning to watch his two young children at karate practice on the day he died on March 25.

But he never went and later that evening his body was discovered slumped outside the Quaker Meeting House in Bury's St John's Street. Ambulance crews tried to resuscitate him but were unsuccessful.

Speaking from her mother Iris Sanderson's home on the Howard Estate in Bury, Mrs Wheeler said: “Kevin had never tried drugs in his whole life but now he has been taken away from me while this man has walked free.

“I didn't know what had happened until the police knocked on my door that night to say Kevin had been found dead.

“I think David Byrne, who was a friend of Kevin's from his childhood, is scum and I just don't know what the magistrates were thinking about. The sentence should have been a minimum of six years but he didn't even serve six hours behind bars.

“He admitted to supplying drugs to Kevin and yet it still seems as though the system was on the side of the criminal and not the victim or the ones who have been left behind to pick up the pieces.”

Suffolk's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is still considering taking further action - which could mean a judicial review - against the court's decision.

A spokesperson said: “We are currently looking into proceedings which are ongoing, so we are unable to comment any further at this time.”

Mrs Wheeler said she would now campaign to try and get as many people as possible to support her case, before considering what her next move would be.

“I intend to take the matter to my local MP and will just see what happens from there,” she said.

“I will do anything it takes to put David in prison, even if I have to find the money to pay for a private prosecution.

“How am I supposed to get the correct message across to my children about what is right and wrong when they have seen this man walk free. It is almost as though the court is saying that it is okay to deal drugs.

“Instead of putting David where he belongs the court has allowed him to go back on the streets.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter