Four found guilty of jury tampering in Warwick drugs trial

  • Published
Media caption,

'He's gonna get a lot more than gym membership'

Four people have been found guilty of trying to fix the trial of a drugs kingpin.

Leslie Allen was jailed for 13 years at Warwick Crown Court in 2018.

A fresh trial at the Old Bailey heard how the 66-year-old had recruited a juror and witnesses in a failed bid to secure a not guilty verdict.

Allen, Damien Drackley, Mark Walker and Laurence Hayden were convicted of perverting the course of justice on Thursday.

The Old Bailey heard Drackley had been promised £5,000, via middleman Walker, to influence fellow jurors back in 2018.

During the latest trial, the 37-year-old from Nuneaton admitted speaking to his mother Lorraine Frisby about the case on a daily basis.

The court also heard incriminating communications between the two was recorded on Drackley's mobile phone via an app.

Image source, Warwickshire Police
Image caption,
Leslie Allen was found guilty of drugs offences without the jury and jailed for 13 years

Frisby told her son Allen had promised to "sort" him out with "a lot more than" membership of a gym.

She told him: "Mr Allen said it makes him feel a bit better to know he's got a face on the jury."

Frisby, 55, from Birmingham, has previously admitted conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

A nod and a wink

Two days before the jury began deliberating on verdicts, 57-year-old Walker, from Coventry, called her for just over seven minutes, after which she called her son, the court was told.

The Old Bailey heard that jurors at Warwick Crown Court had been left puzzled when witness Hayden, nicknamed Del Boy, had visibly nodded and winked at Drackley as he came to give evidence.

His behaviour was reported to the judge who went on to convict Allen without a jury, jailing the 66-year-old from Coventry for 13 years.

Cocaine with a street value of £100,000 had been seized from Allen's Jaguar car and cannabis worth £50,000 was found at his house stuffed in laundry bags.

The "major drugs wholesaler" had the means and motive to evade justice, Old Bailey jurors were told.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Mark Walker was a co-defendant at the drugs trial in 2018 and found guilty of jury tampering in the recent trial

At the 2018 trial it was revealed Allen was caught on his own CCTV system carrying the laundry bags full of drugs, however as the jury deliberated, Drackley argued aggressively to acquit him.

Giving evidence at the Old Bailey, fellow juror Dominyk Maggs told the court: "He basically said that it was all made up, it was a complete load of rubbish, the prosecution, none of it made sense, none of the facts made sense so [Allen] was not guilty."

Drackley, who had put himself forward to be foreman but was rejected, had also revealed he knew the area where Allen lived, causing jurors to alert the judge.

The 37-year-old was immediately removed from the jury and his mobile phone was seized, revealing the conversations with his mother.

Image source, Warwickshire Police
Image caption,
Lorraine Frisby admitted conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, while Damien Drackley, Laurence Hayden and Mark Walker were found guilty of the same offence

Jury foreperson, Elizabeth Jones, in her evidence said the atmosphere had been "toxic".

"It was awful. We were very stressed and worried," she said.

"We didn't want to do the wrong thing. We wanted to do the right thing and didn't expect anything like this at all."

Allen, currently in prison, declined to attend the Old Bailey for the trial, while Hayden, 53, of Coventry has fled to Spain and not returned, the court heard.

A sixth alleged conspirator Daniel Porter, also from Birmingham, died before the trial.

Drackley along with Walker known as the "one-legged mechanic", were granted bail and due to be sentenced on 27 January.

Neil Fielding of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the defendants had made a "concerted effort" to change the course of the trial with Drackley showing a "complete disregard" for his duties as a juror.

"I hope today's convictions will serve as a deterrent to others who may be considering similar conduct and reassures the public that these matters will always be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted where there is sufficient evidence of wrongdoing," he added.

Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Send your story ideas to: [email protected]

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.