Harry Mansfield, 27, of The Gables, Cottam, Preston, claimed Barry Hastewell, who runs Perfects 10s, had instructed him and others to deal cocaine at the club, and admitted possessing cocaine with intent to supply on the basis he was acting for others.
Mansfield’s defence argued that he only agreed to deal drugs in order to “fit in and be accepted”, and had effectively been ‘groomed’ to do it, with his boss treating him to meals out and trips in his sports car.
They say when he initially refused to supply drugs he was ‘left out’ and given less shifts at work, and that he was vulnerable due to mental health problems.
But prosecutors said Mansfield’s involvement was more than he purported and that he “was not merely a puppet of others,” with text message evidence showing him discussing profit, figures, and “sub dealing” to others.
Today club owner Barry Hastewell responded, saying he was “saddened and upset” to learn of the allegations.
As Mansfield’s claims could have made a difference to his sentence a trial of issue had to take place at Preston Crown Court for the facts to be agreed by a judge.
Recorder Katherine Pierpoint accepted he had vulnerabilities, but rejected that he had played a lesser role.
She added: ” The fact is you had a choice, you could have walked away, you had family support, you had another job, you could have worked on other doors in Preston.
“While you were someone vulnerable, you were at the time 25, an adult.
“This is not something you engaged in on just an odd occasion, or a few days.”
“You were playing a willing and active role in it, being well aware of the scale of the operation.
She said anyone who involved themselves in selling class A drugs were “peddling misery to others” and that his role as a security doorman was an aggravating feature.
The judge said she was making no findings as to who may have been ‘above him’, as the people he had named had not been charged with anything.
The offences came to light when Mansfield, then 25, was arrested for an unrelated offence at his home on Cambridge Street on Friday, December 21, 2018.
Preston Crown Court was told he asked to change his trousers, which they permitted, but officers then searched the trousers for evidence relating to the original offences and found several snap bags of powder, more than £1,000 cash and two mobile phones.
Further items relating to drug supply were found in the house, including more snap bags of white powder, scales, a scalpel and measuring cups.
Prosecuting, Michael Scholes said the day after his arrest – and before the phones were analysed – he was interviewed and he claimed in a prepared statement the cocaine was for personal use to “help with his moods.”
In a prepared statement he told officers he had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder but worked part time on doors in Preston and was a qualified plumber.
He claimed the money found was legitimate earnings from plumbing and doorkeeping.
Material downloaded from the phones later showed incriminating messages indicating he had been dealing drugs over a short period.
Defending, Chris Hudson, called Mansfield to give evidence at the hearing about his health issues.
He said: “I’ve had borderline personality disorder since I was 13. It’s where you don’t have emotions like normal people. You have extremes.
He told the court at that time doctors would not prescribe medication until a formal diagnosis, and he had been abusing cannabis, cocaine, steroids, valium and diazepam since the age of 12.
Asked about his relationship with Mr Hastewell he said: “It was good, he used to take me out and take me for food, and go and see all his friends and took me under his wing.
“He was always in the background.
“The boss suggested I hold drugs at the start then he’s pushing me to sell.
“I said nope.
“I stopped getting shifts on the doors. He didn’t speak to me.”
He said fearing he would be “pushed aside” and lose shifts, he ended up holding the drugs for Mr Hastewell and eventually selling two to three times a week while working on the doors.
He alleged Barry Hastewell instructed him to supply drugs to the girls and that the girls shouldn’t pay for them.
He added: ” I thought it were just for the staff at first and then eventually it were to customers.”
Mansfeld alleged that other employees were selling in the club but played down his role and said he had around 10 customers.
Barry Hastewell, managing director of Perfect 10s, responded to the allegations with a statement.
He said: “I’m sorry to hear of Mr Mansfield’s conviction, and saddened and upset to discover detail of the untrue and unfounded claims mentioned at the sentence hearing. I’m pleased to note however, that the judge, after hearing evidence from Mr Mansfield, made no findings in relation to any suggested involvement of others.
“Mr Mansfield worked for a private security company providing door supervision services at a number of venues in Preston. He has never been employed by Perfect 10’s. I understand that he was dismissed from his role, around the time of his offending, following personal issues relating to his forced admission to a psychiatric unit due to the significant mental health problems which you refer.
“I wish him well in his recovery.
“At Perfect 10’s, we have always worked hard towards providing all our customers with a drug free environment in which they can relax and enjoy our hospitality, hence our well established and longstanding successful relationship with the local authorities and the police”.
Source – Lancashire Post