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Chatham man David Hunt racked with guilt after friend's heroin death and spared jail for supplying drug

A man whose friend died from an overdose after he supplied him with heroin has been spared jail.

David Hunt was told by a judge he could have "easily" claimed that his pal bought the drugs himself and "nobody could have disproved otherwise".

But Maidstone Crown Court heard the 43-year-old confessed to police at the scene that he had paid £10 for the wrap and was said to be very shaken and remorseful at the police station.

Heroin paraphernalia. Stock image
Heroin paraphernalia. Stock image

Hunt, of Granville Road, Chatham, admitted supplying the class A drug on November 23 last year.

Prosecutor Benjamin Holt said an ambulance was called to an address in Chatham just before 7.40pm where a man, whom Hunt knew as Shaun Mills, was pronounced dead.

Hunt was also at the premises and he told an officer he had smoked marijauna with Mr Mills earlier in the day.

"The officers noted that he appeared very shaken up by what had happened and expressed real remorse for the death of his friend..." - Benjamin Holt, prosecuting

"He said Mr Mills asked him to get some drugs," added the prosecutor. "David Hunt purchased a £10 bag of heroin and they then split the bag between them.

"Mr Mills did so on a bed before collapsing onto the floor. David Hunt telephoned for an ambulance and also sought help from a neighbour."

A post mortem examination on Mr Mills, whose name was in fact Shane, gave the cause of death as mixed alcohol and morphine intoxication.

Hunt made no comment during his subsequent police interview.

"But the officers noted that he appeared very shaken up by what had happened and expressed real remorse for the death of his friend while out of the interview and in the police station," said Mr Holt.

Thomas Daniel, defending, said Hunt realised that "but for the grace of God" it could have been him who died.

Bag of heroin, stock picture. Thinkstock Image Library
Bag of heroin, stock picture. Thinkstock Image Library

Imposing a community order with 30 months supervision by the probation service, Recorder Jason Dunn-Shaw said he was sentencing him solely on the basis of supplying a very small quantity of heroin.

"The death of your friend is significant only in so far as that has had a considerable effect on you and no doubt would have acted very powerfully, and as powerfully as any course of treatment could have."

Referring to the coroner's ruling at the inquest into Mr Mills' death that it was "nothing other than a tragic accident", the recorder added: "You could have just as easily said Mr Mills bought the drugs for you and nobody could have disproved that, so I give you full credit for your guilty plea."

As part of his sentence, Hunt must attend a Thinking Skills programme, a drug rehabilitation requirement for four to six months, and 12 sessions of an education, training and employment programme.

Hunt thanked the judge as he left court.

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