Cumbria Crack

Penrith man accused of heroin “dealing” tells jury: I’ve not supplied anybody

Carlisle Crown Court

A PENRITH man accused of being a “drug dealer” has told a jury that heroin found in his town bedsit was for his own use, and stated: “I have not supplied anybody.”

Michael John Torrance, 35, is on trial at Carlisle Crown Crown Court. Torrance denies one charge alleging possession of the class A substance with intent to supply.

Torrance was arrested in Carlisle on 24th January, 2018, by police who recovered around £2,000 cash from him. When his home was searched, almost an ounce of heroin was recovered from a drawer, most in a golf ball-sized package along with six individuals drug wraps.

Giving evidence, Torrance admitted he initially told police, “stupidly” and falsely, the cash was a down-payment received from his dad’s friend for the sale of his own car. “I just made a big mistake. I wasn’t thinking straight,” Torrance said of that account. “I’ve made myself look so stupid. I can’t begin to explain how big a hole I’ve dug by telling such a stupid lie.”

In court Torrance told jurors the money was actually part of a £3,200 wages lump sum he received, in December, 2017, for labouring work he’d done earlier that year in Spain during two separate trips he‘d made to kick a drug habit.

During a police interview, Torrance had said of the heroin found in his bedsit: “I didn’t know it was there.”

But he told jurors he now “100 per cent” accepted being in possession of an illegal substance he’d bought from Carlisle, insisting: “The drugs were in my house for me to take.”

His lawyer, Karen Tunnacliffe, asked: “Did you have any intention of passing these drugs or selling these drugs to anyone else?”

Torrance replied: “None whatsoever. None at all.”

During cross-examination, Gerard Rogerson suggested to Torrance, of Norfolk Road, Penrith: “You were a drug dealer, weren’t you?” Torrance responded: “No I was not. I have not supplied anybody.”

Mr Rogerson suggested: “Not only is everything you said in your interview a pack of lies, but so is everything you have told the court.”

Torrance maintained: “No, it’s not.”

The trial continues.