Lincoln drug dealer who lied about court absence by claiming nephew committed suicide jailed

A drug dealer was caught with a stash of cannabis after he was stopped by police in Lincoln city centre, a court was told today.

David Stephenson attracted the attention of officers as he walked along Hungate in the city.

Phil Howes, prosecuting, told Lincoln Crown Court: “The officers stopped and spoke with the defendant. The smell of cannabis was coming from the defendant’s clothing.

“When he was searched he had 20 wraps of cannabis ready for sale.

“He had on him a mobile phone. When that was analysed 500 text messages of a drug trafficking nature were found.”

Stephenson was originally bailed to appear at the Crown Court on January 23 but did not turn up. When he appeared later he lied about his absence claiming it was because his nephew had committed suicide.

Mr Howes said that Stephenson claimed he had been given the information by his mother but when she was traced she said she had not spoken to him for several years.

Police inquiries revealed that Stephenson’s nephew was alive and well.

Stephenson, 40, of Lytton Street, Lincoln, admitted possession of cannabis with intent to supply on April 13, 2016 and being concerned in the supply of cannabis between March 18 and April 14 2016.

He also admitted failing to answer his bail and perverting the course of justice by lying about the reason for his absence from court.

He was jailed for 12 months.

Michael Cranmer-Brown, in mitigation, urged that Stephenson should be given a suspended jail sentence.

He told the court: “The defendant is somebody with mental health issues including anxiety and depression. He is on a lot of medication.

“The probation service has not given up on him. They say he is somebody then can work with.”

Mr Cranmer-Brown said that Stephenson began using large amounts of cannabis while withdrawing from use of the former legal high Mamba.

He said that Stephenson became involved in dealing to fund his own habit.