Drug dealer weeps as he tells judge he turned to crime to pay for daughter’s eye operation

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A drug dealer wept as he told a judge how he had made the “biggest mistake of my life” by turning back to crime to finance his daughter’s eye surgery. Callum Edwards-Pritchard was caught after police found messages from him on the phone of another dealer who they had arrested last year. The texts revealed that he had been involved in the supply of cocaine and ketamine, with conversations relating to deals and money owed, as well as the potential customer base. Following his arrest, he attempted to cover up his actions by telling police an incorrect code to unlock his phone and refusing to reveal the correct one.

But the 27-year-old was full of remorse as he appeared in court via a video link from prison and read a heartfelt letter which he had addressed to the judge.

In the letter, he explained that he had “panicked” about how he was going to afford private surgery to stop his baby daughter from going blind, but now deeply regretted getting involved in dealing in order to finance it.

Edwards-Pritchard, of Bayswater Road, Sketty, was sentenced at Swansea Crown Court on Wednesday, May 10, having pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of both Class A and Class B drugs, namely cocaine and ketamine, Wales Online reported. The court heard how the defendant was caught after police arrested another man, Cameron Isaac, as part of a separate investigation in Swansea in December.

Following his arrest, Isaac’s phone was seized and messages were analysed. Investigating officers found messages between Isaac and a number saved under ‘Callum’, later discovered to belong to Edwards-Pritchard, which indicated that the defendant in this case was also involved in the supply of cocaine and ketamine, with conversations revealing that he had attempted to sell drugs to Isaac and also owed him money for drugs that had been bought for him. These messages also made reference to varied weights of drugs and suggested that they had a wide customer base.

Georgia Donohue, prosecuting, told the court that on February 26 this year, Edwards-Pritchard was arrested for an unrelated matter and his mobile phone was seized. He was found to have the same number as the one that had been in communication with Isaac prior to his arrest. Following his arrest, he accepted that the phone and number belonged to him. However, when he was asked to provide a four-digit code to unlock the phone, he gave officers an incorrect one and when asked again to provide the correct code, he refused.

But while police were in possession of the unlocked phone, they were still able to see incoming messages, which further suggested he was involved in the supply of Class A drugs. One such message read: “What’s going on bro, you good? Any chance of a G until the end of the week?,” with police believing this to relate to the supply of cocaine

On April 24, Edwards-Pritchard attended the custody suite at Swansea police station, saying he had been recalled on licence, and he was arrested the following day for the supply offences. The court heard that he had two previous convictions for eight offences, including being involved in a conspiracy to supply cocaine. He was on licence for that offence when he committed the offences in this case earlier this year.

Defence counsel John Allchurch told the court that his client had shown “genuine remorse” for his actions and insisted that the motive was purely a financial one in order for him to afford his daughter’s surgery, claiming that he “simply felt he had to do something”. He added that Edwards-Pritchard had found himself a good job with Persimmon Homes and was performing well there, telling the judge that without his daughter’s illness “everything would have been the same”.

During the sentencing hearing, Edwards-Pritchard himself address the judge from prison, having written a letter further explaining his actions and subsequent remorse. With the help of a prison officer who read part of the letter out, he told the court how he had been out of jail for three years and “working his way up the ladder” at work, while also meeting the “girl of his dreams”.

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He added that the couple had since welcomed a “beautiful” baby daughter after an “extremely worrying” labour. However, their daughter was born with cataracts in her right eye and, as he explained, was at risk of going completely blind without surgery.

Needing to be “strong and supportive” for both his partner and their daughter, he took time off work to look after them.

However, having had a bad experience with the NHS who were unable to provide the treatment they needed, their only option was to seek private treatment, a move which he said “put a lot of pressure” on him.

He told the judge: “I knew I needed to make money as soon as possible to pay for her treatment and aftercare, so I made the biggest mistake of my life. Now, I’m not going to be there for my partner or daughter.”

He added: “I am so upset at myself as I have let down those who believe in me. I was doing so well and had a good future. I don’t want this letter to be a letter of sympathy, but I want to tell you that I want to give back to the community and charity. I will never stand in court again.”

Sentencing Edwards-Pritchard, Recorder David Payne told him: “You have managed to create a family life for yourself, you have the capacity to work and can contribute positively to society.

“I make note of your charitable ambitions. It is striking how your conduct has worn on you.”

Edwards-Pritchard was sentenced to four years imprisonment, which will commence at the end of his recall period. He will serve up to half of this sentence in custody before being released on licence.