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Home Canterbury News Article
A drug dealer who went on the run for 11 months has given himself up... because he couldn't visit his sick mum in France.
Destin Manuel, 18, fled after being bailed following his arrest for dealing in heroin and crack cocaine in Love Street, Canterbury last year.
The teenager failed to show up at Canterbury Crown Court for his sentence for two charges of possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply, which he admitted.
He claimed to police that he had been selling the illegal substances to pay off a drug debt for his own habit.
A warrant for his arrest was issued but Manuel claimed he had gone to Hertfordshire where he worked as a volunteer in a youth project.
His barrister Victoria Kerly said Manuel finally handed himself in to police on Tuesday February 5 because he couldn’t risk travelling to France to visit his mother – with an arrest warrant hanging over his head.
She also claimed that his girlfriend had terminated a pregnancy because he feared starting a family knowing he was a fugitive from justice.
Prosecutor Patrick Mullen said police officers spotted Manuel acting suspiciously outside his home in Love Street and searched him and found wraps of crack cocaine and heroin.
Inside the house – which he shared with another addict - they discovered drugs with a street value of more than £1,200 hidden inside a breakfast cereal packet. No-one was ever charged with possessing the drugs.
Ms Kerly said that he was bailed to appear at court in March last year but failed to show – claiming he was frightened of going to jail.
She said: “It started as stupidity and fearfulness and developed through not knowing how to deal with these crises and numerous tragedies.
“Eventually realising that there were a number of things he couldn’t do, like visit his father’s grave or go and visit his mother in France who is very seriously ill.
"Neither could he become a parent with this hanging over him and a decision was made that his girlfriend terminate her pregnancy.”
But Judge Adele Williams sent him to a Young Offenders' Institution for two years – adding another month for breaching his bail.
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