Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Drug dealers jailed after Michael Freshwater death

(l-r) Daniel Ferrett, Kevin Suika, Tristan Pope and Dantai Thompson Image copyright Hampshire Constabulary
Image caption The court heard the unsolved murder of Michael Freshwater "created panic" among Southampton drug dealers, producing evidence used at the men's trial at Portsmouth Crown Court

Five men involved in a drugs plot uncovered during investigations into an unsolved murder have been sentenced.

Michael Freshwater, 49, was found stabbed to death at a flat in St Denys, Southampton in April.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard the property was used for "cuckooing", where dealers take over drug users' homes in order to trade.

Four of the men were jailed and one man was given a suspended sentence.

They were all found guilty last month of conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine worth about £676,000 worth between June 2015 and April 2016.

'Sophisticated conspiracy'

Police uncovered the plot after Mr Freshwater's body was found at an address in Westridge Road.

The killing "created panic" among drug dealers in the city, which led to evidence in the case being unearthed.

Passing sentence, Judge Linda Sullivan QC said the flat had been taken over by drug-dealers to use as a base, as part of a "sophisticated conspiracy".

No-one has been charged with Mr Freshwater's murder, and police have said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the death.

The sentences

Daniel Ferrett, 29, of Darlington Gardens, Southampton received four-and-a-half years .

Tristan Pope, 22, of no fixed address, was jailed for eight years.

Kevin Suika, 23, of Holloway Road, north London, was jailed for six years.

Dantai Thompson, 18, of Dorset Road, Bromley, south east London, was sentenced to two years.

Daniel Sadler, 35, of King Georges Avenue, Southampton, received a two year suspended sentence.

Image copyright Hampshire police
Image caption Michael Freshwater was found stabbed to death at a property in Southampton on 29 April 2016

Mr Freshwater's partner Jenny Downey said at court: "I miss him terribly and nothing's ever going to bring him back."

The father-of-four, who was known as Micky, died from a stab wound, a post-mortem examination found.

A reward of £10,000 from the Crimestoppers charity, for information that leads to the successful conviction of anyone responsible for Mr Freshwater's death, remains on offer.

A sixth man, Jammoy Bent, 25, of Golden Grove, Southampton, will be sentenced on 3 February, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine.

In November, a man was jailed for 13 months after admitting perverting the course of justice.

Ashton Singh, 26, of Westridge Road, Southampton, had hidden a shotgun which he found at the flat with Mr Freshwater's body.

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