22 October 2005

22 October 2005

Drug-dealing granny is jailed

A GRANNY who peddled crack and heroin has been jailed for two and a half years.

Norma Griffiths, 48, sold the drugs four times to undercover police officers in Camden Market, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.

The mother-of-four was dealing to fund her own crack habit, which she claimed started after a family tragedy so terrible it could not be disclosed.

At court last Thursday, Judge Patrick O'Mahony said: "I accept a dreadful thing happened to your family and this may be the case why you started taking drugs.

"If you had offended by stealing even on a substantial scale your position would be so much better. You already knew what misery addiction to class A drugs cause when you started dealing."

Griffiths, of Lewisham, pleaded guilty to nine counts of supplying a class A drug and possession of a class A drug with intent on April 26 and May 25.

Soccer ace Wright cleared of litter lout rap

Former football star Ian Wright has been cleared of a litter lout charge.

The ex-England and Arsenal striker was due to face a £5,000-a-day trial next week, accused of throwing a paper cup out of the window of his posh Bentley.

However the charge, which Wright denied, has been dropped after someone else stepped forward earlier this week to admit the offence and paid up the £50 fine.

The storm in a paper cup blew up when a Lewisham council environmental health officer spotted someone flinging the cup from Wright's car in south east London on May 18 last year.

Wright and his estranged wife Deborah were charged under Section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 following the alleged offence in Ladywell Road, Lewisham. The maximum sentence for littering under the 1990 Environment Protection Act is a £2,500 fine.

Deborah described the decision to put the couple through the courts as "ridiculous" and a waste of money.

A spokeswoman for the Labour-run council confirmed the court action has now been dropped.

She said: "The original fine was sent through the post to the car owner, but he denied being the litter bug.

"The crux of the matter in this case was that the car owner denied it was them, but when they didn't bring forward the culprit the trial date was set.

"Subsequently at Greenwich Magistrates Court earlier this week someone came forward and said they were responsible and paid the £50 fine. The car owner has therefore been cleared of any wrong-doing."

Wright, 42, was capped 33 times by England and was Arsenal's all-time record scorer until Thierry Henry surpassed his total earlier this week.

Since the father-of-five retired from football in 2000, he has become a regular analyst on BBC1's Match Of The Day and hosted his own chat show, Friday Night's All Wright on ITV1. He was awarded the MBE in 2000 for services to football.

Catford homes raided in police drug operation

Police yesterday raided four properties in Birmingham as part of a nationwide crackdown on drug dealers and thieves.

The four properties were among more than 50 homes across the country to be targeted by more than 600 officers and staff.

The dawn swoops, which were part of an operation codenamed Phoenix, was headed by Hampshire Police.

A spokeswoman said 48 properties in Southampton were entered and 31 arrests made for drug and theft offences. Armed police were used in some of the raids. There were no arrests in Birmingham, or in a dawn raid that occurred simultaneously in London.

A Hampshire Police spokeswoman said: "The arrests so far have been for a variety of suspected drug, theft and other offences. Those detained have been taken into custody at police stations across Hampshire.

" Simultaneous to the Hampshire raids, four search warrants were executed at addresses in Birmingham, two in the Handsworth area. No one was arrested.

"A further search warrant was conducted at an address in the Catford area of London. The search related to a property used by a man from that area who was arrested at an earlier date in Southampton in connection with the same investigation.

"As well as the arrests, a significant amount of drugs and cash has been recovered, plus substantial quantities of suspected stolen goods."

Killer Howard moved to English jail

Convicted killer Robert Howard was transferred from a prison in Northern Ireland to a jail in Durham today.

The 61-year-old, who is serving life for the rape and murder of 14-year-old Hannah Williams from Deptford, in south London, had been interned in Maghaberry Prison in Northern Ireland.

In June he was acquitted of the murder of Arlene Arkinson by a jury in Belfast.

Last month a reporting restriction, imposed during Howard`s trial for the murder of the Castlederg teenager, was lifted, revealing his past convictions for rape, murder and child abuse.

A statement from the Northern Ireland Prison Service said he was handed over this afternoon and transferred to Frankland Prison in Durham.

He had been held in Maghaberry after being transferred from Belmarsh Prison to Northern Ireland for the Arkinson trial.

Since his acquittal for the murder of Arlene Arkinson, there have been reports that police in the Irish Republic have applied for permission to interview Howard about a number of missing person cases.

Detectives are eager to question him about his movements in the 1980s and 1990s when he is believed to have been travelling around Ireland and had at least 12 addresses.

It is understood one of the cases Gardai have reopened is that of 21-year-old Jo Jo Dullard, who disappeared in November 1995 while hitching a lift to her home in County Kilkenny.

They are also investigating the disappearance of 26-year-old American national Annie McCarrick who lived in Dublin and vanished while walking in County Wicklow in March 1993.

Originally from Wolfhill in County Laois in the Irish Republic, Robert Howard was found guilty in 2003 of murdering Hannah Williams whose body was discovered at a cement works in Northfleet, Kent, in March 2002.

He was cleared on a majority verdict in June of murdering Ms Arkinson in 1994.

She disappeared near her home in Castlederg, County Tyrone, in Northern Ireland after attending a disco across the border in Bundoran, County Donegal with friends in August 1994.

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