Friday, 25 April 2014

'Innocent' texts of housing boss on cocaine charge

A high flying housing executive accused of using text messages to supply friends with cocaine may have been referring to her son Charlie, her defence has argued.

Susan Thompson, 44, group director of operations at 14,500-home Fabrick Housing Group, is on trial at Newcastle Crown Court, alongside her husband detective sergeant Paul Thompson, 43, of Northumbria Police, accused of buying cocaine from Paul’s half-brother Brian Thompson, 51, and supplying it to friends.

The jury heard on Wednesday that the prosecution’s case that Mrs Thompson had supplied the drug was based on phone calls and text messages made by her to Paul Thompson and her friends.

Salesh Mehta, defending Mrs Thompson, told the court that Mrs Thompson only came to the attention of police at a late stage and that prosecutors were relying on inference alone to show that her texts revealed she was involved in the supply of cocaine.

Mr Mehta said that the context of the messages needed to be taken into account.

He read out a text sent by Mrs Thompson to her mother, which said she was ‘going to pick C up.’

Mr Mehta admitted that this text might look ‘suspicious, until you discover that they have a ten-year-old son called Charlie.’ He told the court: ‘In the context of this case it can be suspicious. Context is very important because if you do not know what is behind a message, it might look sinister when it isn’t.’

He claimed that any inference of the meaning of a text would be ‘dangerous’ without knowledge of the context in which words are used. He said: ‘It is not as if Susan Thompson is texting ‘can I get an eighth of cocaine’.’

Prosecutors claim Paul Thompson acted as the ‘eyes and ears’ for Brian Thompson and his drug dealing associates Stephen Wood, 48, and David Wood, 52, who are brothers.

It is claimed the Wood brothers supplied drugs to Brian Thompson, who would in turn deal them on to his half-brother. 

Brian Thompson, of Thorneyford Place, Stephen Wood, of Thornhill Road, and David Wood, of Silver Lonnen, all Newcastle, have admitted conspiracy to supply a class A drug but deny conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office. 

Paul Thompson and Susan Thompson, both of Dipton, County Durham, both deny conspiracy to supply class A drugs. Paul Thompson denies separate misconduct in public office and cocaine possession charges. 

The charges date between January 2001 and February 2011. The trial continues. 

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