Man (73) became cocaine dealer to support ill wife
Father of eight sold drugs after pension cut, court told
Published 18/11/2010 | 05:00
A 73-year-old father of eight became a crack cocaine and heroin dealer to pay for medical care for his wife after his pension was cut.
James Edgeworth, who supports his seriously ill wife, received a suspended four-year jail sentence after undercover gardai bought drugs from him on four different occasions.
The pensioner needed to make extra money after his pension was cut by €30 following a dispute with social welfare officers over the amount of payments he was receiving.
When contacted at his home last night, Edgeworth said he had been ordered by the judge not to put a foot wrong so he had no comment to make.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Edgeworth, of Clonard Road, Crumlin, Dublin, pleaded guilty to four counts of possession of drugs for sale or supply between May 14 and June 19, 2008, at various locations in Dublin.
Judge Katherine Delahunt noted that Edgeworth, who had been abusing alcohol since the death of his son several years ago, had suffered shame and remorse since he was found in possession of the drugs.
"I consider you are a person who should be in prison, but due to your ill health and your wife's ill health I will not deal with it by way of a prison sentence, as I am influenced by your plea and your genuine shame and remorse," the judge said.
The court heard how gardai at Kevin Street garda station had put a sting operation in place to target low-level drug dealers in the area.
After receiving a confidential tip-off, an undercover garda phoned Edgeworth, who identified himself as Jimmy, and arranged to buy €100 of cocaine.
The garda met him outside a pub on Parkgate Street and Edgeworth sold the drugs.
A second buy was set up for two weeks later, when another €100 of cocaine was bought.
In June an undercover garda bought €50 worth of heroin from Edgeworth.
In July it was decided to arrest Edgeworth after one final undercover buy. A garda arranged to buy some crack cocaine and met him at his house in Crumlin. After the drugs were handed over, gardai identified themselves and arrested Edgeworth.
They searched the house and found another small amount of cocaine along with €800 in cash. During the four operations, gardai bought a total of €530 of cocaine and €50 worth of heroin from Edgeworth.
Edgeworth was polite to gardai, but refused to assist them during interview, the court was told. He has 23 previous convictions, which date back to the 1950s and are mostly for road traffic matters. Two of the convictions were for robbery.
The court heard that Edgeworth had been having money trouble after the pension cut. His wife suffers from several medical conditions and spends a lot of her time in an oxygen tent.
The court heard he had recently recovered from prostate cancer and also has ongoing medical issues.
Edgeworth had been at a funeral and was telling his friends about his money troubles, the court was told.
One of his friend's children overheard him and later offered him the opportunity to make some money by selling drugs. Counsel submitted that Edgeworth "stupidly" accepted.
Edgeworth was married 50 years and had worked all his life as a labourer and later, installing television aerials. He said he had never abused drugs but did consume a lot of alcohol, the court was told.
Suspending the sentence for seven years, the judge warned Edgeworth that she would not allow him to "shield behind ill health again", and warned him that if he came before the courts again, he would serve the suspended sentence.