Dealer who supplied a wide range of drugs across Rugby has been jailed

A Rugby man who was cycling around ‘knocking out’ an array of different drugs to other users to feed his own addiction has been jailed.

Sunday, 24th November 2019, 12:30 pm
Updated Sunday, 24th November 2019, 12:31 pm

Matthew Keating had pleaded guilty to possessing the class A drugs morphine and the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl with intent to supply them.

He also admitted possessing skunk cannabis with intent to supply it and three charges of possessing class C prescription drugs, temazepam, diazepam and nitrazepam, with intent to supply.

Keating (43) of Lawford Road, Rugby, appeared at Coventry Crown Court where he was jailed for three years and four months.

Matthew Keating (43) of Lawford Road, Rugby, was jailed for three years and four months.

Prosecutor John Brotherton said that in August last year police officers in an unmarked car in New Bilton, Rugby, saw Keating on a cycle with another man walking alongside him.

They stopped in an alleyway where another man, who was a known drug-user, approached Keating and an exchange took place between them.

Keating was arrested, and on him he had a bag in which the officers found a large quantity of prescription tablets in blister packs and a tin with four one-gram deals of cannabis.

When his home was then searched, the police discovered an inactive cannabis factory and a further large quantity of tablets.

There were 20 morphine tablets, 128 diazepam tablets, 36 nitrazepam tablets and four temazepam tablets – altogether worth up to £287, and another 100 grams of cannabis worth £600.

When he was questioned, Keating, who had a previous conviction for producing cannabis, claimed he and friends and associates had pooled resources to obtain prescription tablets.

Alexander Barber, defending, said: “He is no longer in the grip of addiction. Since being arrested he has done what he can to address his addiction.”

He said Keating’s addiction to pain-killers had come about following dental surgery in 2015 when his tooth shattered and he was prescribed opiates which triggered his previous addiction to heroin.

“He was then no longer able to get those prescription painkillers because they believed he was abusing them and the GP’s surgery banned him from receiving painkillers.

“There was an exchange of drugs going on, it was not just for payment. It wasn’t street dealing, he was doing this to obtain the painkillers he couldn’t get from his GP,” said Mr Barber.

But Judge Andrew Lockhart QC commented: “But he’s got a vast quantity of these painkillers, and he’s knocking them out to other people. He’s out on the street, he’s dealing – how is that not street dealing?”

Mr Barber, who urged the judge to pass a suspended sentence, replied: “This was not an enterprise run to make money, but to fuel his addiction to painkillers.”

He added that Keating, who was the sole carer for his bed-bound mother, cooking, cleaning and shopping for her, was ‘petrified at the prospect of custody.’

Jailing Keating, Judge Lockhart told him: “You have a very poor record, 23 convictions for 43 offences. By mid-2018 you were back and in the supply chain of controlled drugs.

“I have no doubt this is a case of street dealing.”