The latest Liverpudlian heroin courier to be jailed at Lerwick Sheriff Court said he was forced at gunpoint to make the trip to Shetland in punishment for having beaten up a man with drug gangster connections.
To avoid having his legs broken in revenge David Garnett, 39, of Lawrence Road, Liverpool, concealed bags of heroin inside his body and caught the bus to Aberdeen before boarding the NorthLink ferry on 26th May.
Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie told the court on Wednesday the police had intelligence about his activities and were waiting at the Holmsgarth terminal the next day for “yet another Liverpudlian to come off the boat with diamorphine concealed in their rectum”.
Garnett initially refused to co-operate despite an X-ray at the hospital showing he had four packages in his abdomen. A warrant had to be obtained to allow a laxative to be administered against his will.
Mr MacKenzie said the four packages of heroin had contained 780 individual wraps of £20 bags worth a total of about £15,600.
He told Sheriff Graeme Napier that, as he had heard umpteen times before, the drugs mule had been coerced into smuggling heroin into Shetland. One day in Liverpool he had been walking his dog along a canal when he got into an altercation with another dog-walker. Garnett administered “a severe beating” to the man, Mr MacKenzie said.
Unfortunately the man used his family connections high up in the organised crime world to exact retribution, causing Garnett to be before the court facing years in jail.
His defence lawyer Tommy Allan pointed out that Garnett’s string of previous convictions had not involved drugs but he had been ordered to go to Shetland or have his legs broken.
“He was quite clear that they were serious about this,” Mr Allan said.
Since his first court appearance in Lerwick in May Mr Garnett, a window-cleaner and car-washer, had co-operated and always intended pleading guilty, Mr Allan told the court.
The Sheriff was amazed Garnett could get work as a window-cleaner with such an “appalling” criminal record, which included stretches inside. He jailed him for 40 months, backdated to 31st May since when he has been on remand.