Trio jailed for more than 50 years after violence linked to 'county lines' drug dealing in Harrogate
AÂ trio of out-of-town drug dealers have been jailed following a night of violence in Harrogate linked to so-called "county lines" drug dealing.
Lengthy prison terms were today (Friday) handed to Mohamed Abdi, 26, of Tower Street, Leicester, Adirahman Shire, 22, of Oak Street, Leicester, and Julian Soares, 23, of Brixton, London.
They were each jailed for more than 14 years after being found guilty by a jury following a two-week trial at Leeds Crown Court, which ended earlier this week, of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and conspiracy to supply crack cocaine.
The charge of wounding with intent relates to an attack at a property on Skipton Road when a 38-year-old man from Leeds was stabbed on October 20 last year.
The court heard how the man suffered 12 stab wounds, including to the chest and back, leaving him with a collapsed lung, cuts to his arms and torso and a severed Achilles tendon.
"He continues to suffer problems due to nerve injuries and has no sensation in his right foot," judge Martin Spencer told the court.
"It is not surprising that the affect on him has been severe, both in physical and psychological terms. He will have to live with the consequences of those injuries for the rest of his life."
Soares was also found guilty of administering a noxious substance and conspiracy to supply heroin, after the court heard he returned to Harrogate in the weeks that followed the violence.
The charge of administering a noxious substance relates to an attack on Kings Road, also on October 20, when a 37-year-old man from Harrogate had a corrosive liquid thrown in his face.
The attacks were part of a recent phenomenon known as “county lines” dealing, where drug traffickers try to expand their markets from big cities to smaller towns.
Throughout the trial, jurors were told how gang members are prepared to use “extreme violence” to gain a foothold and edge out local dealers.
All three defendants were previously cleared of a charge of attempted murder.
Judge Spencer said: "The circumstances of this case have arisen out of county lines operations.
"All three of the defendants went to Harrogate for the purposes of selling drugs."
Sentencing the trio, he said their lengthy terms were "fully merited" because of their involvement and "overall criminality".
Judge Spencer added: "The evil flooding of the streets of the otherwise gentile and peaceful town of Harrogate cannot be overstated."
Soares, who the court was told had a leading role in the operation, was sentenced to a total of 20 years in prison.
Shire was handed a total of 15 years in prison, while Abdi was sentenced to a total of 14 years, nine months in prison after being given credit by Judge Spencer for a entering a guilty plea at the latter stages of the trial.
The court also heard that Abdi, born in Denmark, and Shire, born in the Netherlands, could also face deportation.
Following the sentencing, Judge Spencer said: "I would like to commend the police and associated support services for the way in which this matter was investigated and prosecuted.
"The evidence was relatively limited but I'm aware that behind that there will have been an enormous amount of hard work to bring these men to justice."