Published: 00:01, 11 January 2018
A Walmer man awarded more than £1 million compensation for a serious injury blew most of it on a life of drink and drugs.
Mark Buery was arrested after police discovered his flat in Canada Road, being used as a "cuckoo nest" by a London drugs dealer.
Canterbury Crown Court heard how Buery, 42, had lost his leg in an accident in 2008 and was later awarded compensation.
But his barrister, Ben Irwin revealed that after buying the flat – all he has left of £1.4m is £10,000 in his bank.
Prosecutor Simon Taylor told how last March a woman went into a nearby supermarket where she stole some food.
He added officers were able to identify the suspect after looking at the store’s CCTV which led to Buery’s home.
Mr Taylor added at the house officers found David Fontaine, 19, from south London, and 30 wraps of heroin and a mobile phone revealed drug deals.
Mr Irwin added that Buery was “effectively being cuckooed by a London-based gang.
“He had a disorganised lifestyle as result of his drugs use and his need to resort to criminality to fund his drugs use.
“He says that prior to the industrial accident he wasn’t a drug addict, although he used drugs recreationally and he accepts he drank to excess.
“Following the accident his life changed dramatically and he utterly lost his way.”
Mr Irwin said that after being awarded the compensation Buery was “suddenly surrounded by people wanting to take his money.”
“He essentially helped them because by then he was an entrenched drug addict but things have now changed by and large all the money is gone, “ he added.
Judge Simon James gave him and eight-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months after admitting allowing his home to be used to supply drugs.
He told him that he had “spun a line” when he was interviewed by a probation officer “because it is abundantly clear to me that when it suits you rely on your disability and the sympathy it quite properly attracts.”
He added: “That disability has not stopped you offending... and although you are disabled you are a long-term user of Class A drugs, committing a number of different offences,
“And I am sure you knew exactly what was going on in your home.”
The judge also ordered he remain at his home each evening for the next five months and pay £600 court costs.
Fontaine, who admitted drug dealing, was sent to a Young Offender’s Institute for 30 months and was led away from the dock screaming for his mother, who was sat in the public gallery.
Meanwhile, a lawyer’s website claimed Buery was awarded £3m gross after the accident, which happened while he was a JCB telescopic handler on a construction site on St Michael's Drive in Kent.
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