A TEENAGER has been handed a lengthy prison sentence for flooding Warrington with class A drugs.

Owen Smith controlled a phone sending bulk loads of messages advertising illegal substances for sale, and he jumped out of a window and punched a policeman in an escape bid.

While on bail for drug matters, the 19-year-old also beat his girlfriend black and blue, leaving her with broken bones, and he also strangled her.

He appeared before Liverpool Crown Court to be sentenced for being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine and heroin, possession of cannabis and assault by beating of an emergency worker.

He also admitted domestic abuse charges of inflicting grievous bodily harm, controlling and coercive behaviour, intentional strangulation and two counts of ABH

Kenneth Grant, prosecuting in the case, told the court how the drug matters came about through Operation Toxic – Merseyside Police’s dismantling of county lines drug gangs.

Cheshire Police identified the controller of a mobile ‘graft’ phone linked to the ‘Scouse Joe’ class A drug county line between Halewood and Warrington.

This graft phone sent large quantities of ‘flare’ messages to users in Warrington advertising drugs for sale, as well as daily trips to the town from Halewood.

On January 25, police executed a warrant at an address in Orford – the home of his girlfriend – and arrested Smith, seizing the Nokia graft phone from underneath his pillow.

The defendant’s personal iPhone was also seized, with location data linking journeys made with both devices.

During his police interview, Smith claimed that a friend had left the address without his phone, and that he put his friend’s Nokia under the pillow for ‘safe keeping’.

The Orford address was in fact a safe house for Smith’s girlfriend, having previously experienced domestic violence – but Smith was in fact also subjecting her to violence.

The court heard how he and the victim began a relationship, but he would look through her phone while she was in the bath and ‘go mad’.

When she would not answer the door to let him in, he would kick it, and on one occasion he punched her in the face, causing her to fall to the floor and ‘choke on blood and mucus’.

She suffered a fractured cheekbone as a result, as well as swelling and bruising to her face, with Mr Grant stating that the victim felt ‘petrified, scared, vulnerable and embarrassed’.

A further assault occurred in public, with a motorist witnessing Smith punch her to the ground, drag her along the pavement by her hair and dump her in the carriageway.

The victim was pregnant at the time of the attack.

Owen Smith was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court

Owen Smith was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court

Another assault saw Smith threaten to tie her up with duct tape, and when she hid the tape, he punched, kicked, slapped and bit her, leaving her with bruises to her arms and legs and a black eye.

The court heard that Smith said he would kill her, and that she feared for her life on a daily basis, while he also strangled her, causing her to fall unconscious.

Events escalated in May however, with police receiving a call from a gas engineer of a disturbance in one of the flats in the building he was working on.

When officers arrived, they found blood ‘all over the address’, with the victim having suffered a fractured cheekbone, nose, eye socket and fingers, as well as bruising, cuts to her eyebrows and bite marks to her body.

The court was told that the victim told police the defendant turned violent after accusing her of having an affair and held a screwdriver to her neck.

On May 20, police executed a warrant in Smith’s native Halewood, with a warrant for his arrest outstanding since March.

He jumped out of a first-floor window, injuring himself in the process, before hiding in a cupboard in another flat and punching a policeman twice to the face in a bid to evade capture, leaving the officer with a bruised cheek.

On the domestic violence allegations, he denied ‘any wrongdoing whatsoever’ in his police interview.

Mitigation was offered by Lloyd Morgan, defending, who said: “This is a young man with problems of his own, drug induced frankly, who realises he will get a custodial sentence – the only question is of length.

“There are a number of reasons why the offences were committed – the defendant’s youth and immaturity,” he commented, adding that the drug dealing was as a result of accruing a drug debt following his addiction.

During the sentencing remarks of judge Robert Trevor-Jones, Smith could be seen over the video-link from HMP Altcourse shaking his head constantly, chunnering and gesticulating, leading to him being given a warning and then muted.

On the domestic violence offences, the judge said: “You are 19 years of age currently, and while the offences were committed you were 18 – an adult, yes, but no doubt you are a very immature person.

“You are clearly an impulsive person and self-centred with it – a dangerous combination with paranoid jealousy.

He added that Smith has a ‘propensity towards violence’ and that his behaviour ‘humiliated and degraded’ the victim.

On the drug matters, judge Trevor-Jones commented: “It is becoming obvious that the scourge of towns across the country is class A drugs flooding in from cities such as Liverpool.”

Smith was sentenced to seven years and six months detention in a young offender institution.

The court also approved orders for the destruction of drug related items seized from him and forfeiture of cash on him, which is to be donated to charity.