A PROMISING young footballer’s career has been cut short after he was jailed for selling drugs.
Andrew Akingbaje would take the train down from London and peddle crack cocaine and heroin to users on the streets of Southsea.
The 19-year-old set up shop at the home of ‘vulnerable’ Martin Beech in Harrow Road and would advertise his drugs on a BlackBerry on his journey down.
Although he denied two charges of offering to supply class A drugs and two counts of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs, he was found guilty by a jury at Portsmouth Crown Court.
At his sentencing hearing, the court heard that on June 10, 2013, Akingbaje, of south London, was seen by police officers making exchanges with known drug users.
He was arrested and found with £610 in cash, a mobile phone and a BlackBerry mobile phone.
Despite being on bail he was seen again on June 29, 2013 with co-defendant John White going in and out of Mr Beech’s flat.
The flat was raided and Akingbaje was found.
Police analysed his mobile phones and found that he had been coming down to Portsmouth to deal heroin and crack cocaine and then heading back to his south London home to get more supplies.
At his trial he claimed his mobile phones had been stolen and used by someone else for dealing – but he had miraculously found them again by the time police arrested him.
The court heard Akingbaje started dealing drugs because he was in debt.
His defence barrister Jason Cross said his client could have a ‘very happy career’ in football.
He added: ‘If not in football, as a paramedic.
‘Following his arrest in September 2013, he demonstrated the determination to make something of himself and there is ample evidence that if he could avoid prison he would have a very successful career in football or in the realm of sport generally.’
Sentencing him, Recorder Malcolm Gibney said he accepted that Akingbaje could have had a promising career ahead of him and that he came from a decent family but he had ‘gone completely awry’.
He added: ‘Yes, it was the act of an immature and young man but it was a persistent pattern of offending. The evidence was extensive.’
Recorder Gibney said the second two offences were made worse because they were committed while on bail.
Akingbaje was jailed for two years and six months in a young offenders’ institution on each of the four counts, to run concurrently. He must also pay a £120 victim surcharge.
Two accomplices sentenced
ANDREW Akingbaje was sentenced along with two other defendants.
Nigel Beech admitted allowing a premises to be used to sell drugs. But the court heard he was a vulnerable man who only got involved because he had been asked by a friend to put Akingbaje up for a few nights. He was accompanied in court by a mental health support worker.
His defence barrister Louisa Bagley told the court Beech is supported by his elderly mother and his son. His last conviction was in 1999.
She said: ‘At the time of the offence he was not a heavy drug user. He perhaps dabbled. He is now on a prescription for methadone to keep him away from harm.’
Ms Bagley said Beech was so worried about what Akingbaje was up to he locked himself in his room while it was going on and called police to remove Akingbaje from his home.
Recorder Malcolm Gibney handed Beech, 53, of Harrow Road, Southsea, a 12-month supervision order. He must pay a £60 victim surcharge.
John White, 35, of Alhambra Road, Southsea, pleaded guilty to two counts of being concerned in the supply of a controlled class A drug. The heroin addict has 25 previous offences.
Sentencing him, Recorder Gibney said: ‘Your record is such that your only saving grace is that you don’t have any significant drug-related offences.’ He was given 20 months in prison, suspended for two years and must also pay a £100 victim surcharge.