Man claims ‘mystery man’ Gav hid half a kilogram of cocaine in his car

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

A 21-year-old has claimed a 'mystery man' put half a kilogram of cocaine in his washbag when he gave him a lift in his brand new BMW.

It comes after a 14-year-old helped police track down the stash, worth up to £48,000, which was hidden in a wheelie bin on a Wymondham estate.

Lewis Skinner, of Norwich Road, Talconeston, had been driving a £10,000 BMW 1 Series through Wymondham on May 13 when he sped away from a marked police vehicle.

The car was later found abandoned nearby on the Whispering Oaks estate, and Skinner's DNA found in the handle of the washbag.

Skinner has denied possession of Class A drugs with intent and is standing trial at Norwich Crown Court.

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He claimed he had no knowledge of the drugs being in his car.

Skinner, a self-employed building contractor, told Norwich Crown Court he had been "struggling for work" at the time after a dry spell, but had a new contract in Ipswich a month later.

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He said he had bought the BMW two weeks earlier using inheritance money from his grandfather and a loan from his brother.

That day he had been "waved down" by a man he recognised from the Robert Kett pub, who he knows only as Gav, he told the court.

"I put the window down and said 'do you want a lift'," Skinner said. "I just know him as Gav, I would love to give the court more details."

He said the pair got to Lavender Road, on route to the Robert Kett, when 'Gav' spotted the police vehicle.

"Seeing the police vehicle, [Gav] said to me 'put your foot down'," Skinner said. "Stupidly, I did."

He said he parked the car on Crocus Street and told 'Gav' to get out of the car, before spending the evening in Norwich.

He claimed his car keys and mobile phone were both lost that night.

The cocaine was discovered in a washbag which still had the tag on. Skinner said he used it regularly for the gym and he had not seen 'Gav' put anything inside it during the two minute drive before they were spotted by police.

In September, Skinner was arrested and police discovered £930 in £10 notes at his home. He claimed it had been cash from the sale of his previous car.

Asked why he gave a no comment interview, he said: "I felt I had answered all the questions that were being asked and I couldn't be of any more assistance to the police. It was my right."

Joanne Eley, prosecuting, said Skinner's account was "absolute nonsense".

"You are blaming Gav the mystery man," she said. "He is just hanging around on the street corner with nearly £50,000 of cocaine. This person, who is almost a stranger, gets into your car with half a kilo of cocaine. Somehow that cocaine gets in your washbag.

"I suggest you were acting as a courier transporting half a kilo of cocaine and you certainly knew what was in the washbag on that day.

"You panicked when you saw that police car, knowing what you had in your vehicle.

"I suggest you were a key feature in the drug supply, picking it up from source and taking it to a place where it would be broken down for sale.

"I had no knowledge of any drugs being in my car," said Skinner. "I didn't see him put anything in my washbag or leave the car with it.

"I didn't want to know how he was breaking the law, I just wanted him to be away from me."

The trial continues.

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