Former US scholarship footballer found guilty of selling heroin and crack in Portsmouth

A WOMAN caught dealing heroin and crack cocaine who claimed she was merely giving ‘spare change to homeless people’ was found guilty at court.

Tuesday, 14th May 2019, 3:50 pm
Updated Friday, 17th May 2019, 9:46 pm

Tayla Edwards, 19, claimed she was a ‘nice person’ who ‘has nothing to do with drugs’ at her trial for dealing the Class A drugs in Somers Town in November 2017.

But despite the defendant’s denials, jurors at Portsmouth Crown Court found her guilty of two counts of supplying Class A drugs in St Andrew’s Road.

Five police officers had spotted Edwards in the street before an exchange was made.

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The Scales of Justice
The Scales of Justice

But after ambushing the defendant no drugs were found on her - only a knife and £50 cash were discovered.

Two men were seen running from the address. One of whom, a juvenile who has links to a London drug gang, has now admitted dealing and is awaiting sentence.

Edwards’ iPhone was seized by police showing a string of ‘drug dealing’ messages. But the defendant claimed they were from other people who she allowed to use her phone.

Giving evidence, PC Chris Akass, told jurors messages were found on her phone such as ‘make sure you don’t spend my bred’ and ‘I need my pack’.

Mr Akass said: ‘A pack is a drug reference to £1,000.’

Despite admitting she had drug-related messages on her phone, Edwards said she had no idea deals were being arranged on her phone.

‘I didn’t know - I didn’t ask questions about what they were using my phone for,’ she said. ‘I don’t do or sell drugs.’

Asked about street exchanges with men and a woman, Edwards said: ‘They asked if I had any change so I gave it to them. I thought they were homeless and I’m a nice person.’

When quizzed over police seeing her take something out of her mouth before giving it to the men, Edwards replied: ‘I didn’t take anything out of my mouth.’

The defendant did admit to having a knife on her - a charge she had already pleaded guilty to. ‘I was told to be careful and to take it with me because of people in the area,’ she said.

Edwards, who won a scholarship to play football in America when she was 16, had previously received a fine for possession of cannabis but she had no previous convictions for dealing.

Edwards, of Copsleigh Avenue, Redhill, Surrey, will now be sentenced later this month.