Prison term for transplant man

Heroin addict Derek Gates, 36, of The Promeade Bridlington , given a suspended prison sentnece for possesion of heroin with intent to supply. He walks free from Hull Crown Court.
Heroin addict Derek Gates, 36, of The Promeade Bridlington , given a suspended prison sentnece for possesion of heroin with intent to supply. He walks free from Hull Crown Court.

A heart transplant survivor has been told by a judge the fact he is still taking and dealing drugs on the heroin scene means he is threatening his own life.

Judge Jeremy Richardson, QC, told Derek Gates, 39, because he had been caught for the third time dealing in Class A drugs he had no option but to sentence him to prison for the Government minimum of five years and 220 days.

Gates of Marshall Avenue, Bridlington, appeared at Hull Crown Court on Wednesday (January 14) for sentence after pleading guilty to one charge of possession of heroin with intent to supply.

Crown barrister Stephen Welch said the case was aggravated because Gates had more than 23 previous drug convictions, two of supplying drugs and this was the third case of supplying Class A drugs.

Gates was caught red-handed sat on his bed when police raided his home on October 22. He had 24 wraps of heroin, 4.2grams, and had a street value of £240.

Mr Welch said: “Police formed the opinion he was trying to dispose of the drugs,” said Mr Welch. “He put up a struggle and had to be punched in the back until he stopped.”

Gates, exhausted from the struggle and said: “There is no need to smack me in the back like that. I was just trying to neck it. You have got the gear. That was assault.”

Mr Welch said Gates was given 60 months in prison in for supplying heroin in Bridlington in 2009 only to repeat it 2012. He was last caught red-handed by police with 14 bags of heroin worth £340 and £540 in cash when they raided his flat on The Promenade, in Bridlington on Feb 14 2012. He was given a 24-month suspended sentence and the latest offence was in breach of that.

Defence barrister Richard Thompson said: “He has for the whole of his adult life suffered health problems.

“He has been a heart transplant patient. He is anxious for me to point out this was caused by a genetic heart defect, not because of his drug taking. He has found himself stuck in a cycle of ill health and drug taking.”

Judge Richardson interrupted and said: “He is not doing himself any good taking these drugs. If he has any genuine desire to give up drugs there is help he can get in prison. If he does not then he will come out in as bad a condition as he went in.”

Sentencing he told Gates: “Given your heart trouble you will be well advised for your own interests to stay away from drugs. If you don’t you will serve ever longer sentences. Ultimately you will be doing terrible damage to your own health.” He jailed Gates for five years 220 days.