Ketamine dealer, 23, caught by police after raid in student’s death probe jailed

A 23-year-old man was caught running an illegal "drugs shop" with almost £9,000-worth of stock, a court has heard.

Lanoi Liddell was arrested as part of police inquiries into the death of Cardiff University student Megan Pollitt.

Although there is no evidence to suggest Liddell supplied the ketamine believed to have caused Ms Pollitt’s death, police said they believed Liddell to be involved in the "street-level" supply of MDMA, ketamine, and cocaine in Cardiff’s student area.

On Monday Cardiff Crown Court heard how Liddell was originally arrested after being found with drugs in his car in the Cathays area of Cardiff on October 12, 2020.

He was released under investigation but was arrested a second time a month later following inquiries into the death of Cardiff University student Megan Pollitt when he was found dealing drugs again.

There is no evidence to suggest Liddell had supplied ketamine believed to be taken by Ms Pollitt before her death, the court heard.

Outlining the facts prosecutor Thomas Stanway was first spotted by officers from the South Wales Police Operation Sceptre mobile team on October 12 driving along Wyeverne Road and Senghennydd Road in Cathays.

Liddell had been driving in the opposite direction in a silver Toyota, reports WalesOnline, when he was seen reacting to the officers' unmarked car "when he realised they were police".

After pulling over in Northcote Lane he was stopped and searched and was found to have alprazolam tablets, prescription painkiller oxycodone, and around £200 in cash in his possession.

He was taken to Cardiff Bay police station where he gave his mother's address, prompting police to search his own address in Lewis Court, Maelfa. There, in what Mr Stanway described as a "drugs shop", they found quantities of ketamine, cocaine, MDMA, LSD and magic mushrooms with an overall street value in the region of up to £8,740 along with electric scales and more than £7,000 in cash.

After answering "no comment" during his investigation Liddell was released the following day under investigation.

But on November 16 the defendant was seen at an address during a search two days after Ms Pollitt was found collapsed in her halls of residence. There was no link found between Liddell and the supply of drugs to Ms Pollitt.

He was arrested in the building foyer where he was found with a pink and white iPhone. Messages recovered from the phone contained "clear evidence of drug supply," Mr Stanway said.

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It was heard the defendant had also been involved in the "street-level" supply of MDMA, ketamine, and cocaine while under investigation.

During the hearing Hashim Salmman, defending, described how his client had dropped out of university to care for his grandmother and had become addicted to drugs following her death.

He said: "The defendant suffered from bereavement issues as a result of his grandmother passing away. It led to drug addiction; drug addiction led to funding his habit.

"The circumstances led to debt, which led to the scale of offending that the defendant ended up at."

Mr Salmman also stressed that while Liddell, who has been diagnosed with ADHD and mild autism, had two previous convictions they took place at age 14, leading to a 10-year gap between offending.

Prior to the hearing, Liddell, of Lewis Court, Llanedeyrn, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine, MDMA, and ketamine with intent to supply as well as the possession of Class A and Class C drugs.

Addressing the defendant, Judge Daniel Williams described the street value of the recovered drugs as "substantial".

In total, he was jailed for three years and four months, half of which will be served in custody.

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