Search

Maida Vale pensioner had no idea of £25,000 drug deal in his kitchen

14:00 25 May 2012

Police swooped on the property in Randolph Avenue

Police swooped on the property in Randolph Avenue

Archant

A Maida Vale pensioner was the “innocent victim” of a large-scale drug deal that saw £25,000 of cocaine exchange hands metres from where he stood in his kitchen.

John Demko, 65, of Randolph Avenue, was arrested on suspicion of dealing cocaine on October 26 last year after police raided his flat and found him by the sink while a drug dealer cut lines of white powder on the kitchen table.

Dealer Johnny St Louis, 40, who was found in the kitchen, and Anton Pali, 29, who was caught by police leaving the property with tens of thousands of pounds in his rucksack, both pleaded guilty to drugs offences after they were arrested.

But a jury at the Old Bailey on Tuesday found Mr Demko not guilty of any offence after they were told he had been unaware of the drug deal taking place under his nose.

The jury heard that police had been following St Louis, of Westbourne Park, and Pali, of no fixed address, on suspicion of being involved with drug dealing.

Pali arrived at Mr Demko’s flat with the cocaine just before 2.30pm on October 26 and he was found to have swapped it for bundles of cash when stopped by police as he left half an hour later.

Officers then raided the flat and found more than half a kilo of cocaine in the kitchen and in the garden below.

St Louis and Pali admitted their charges but, when questioned at the scene, Mr Demko claimed the drugs were not his and he had never seen them before.

The jury heard that St Louis had previously lodged in Mr Demko’s flat and had retained a key to the property because he often helped the pensioner, who suffered from ill health.

Defence counsel Tom Stevens said Mr Demko had been “used and betrayed” by someone he trusted.

Recounting Mr Demko’s account of the events, he said: “On the day in question I was up in my room not feeling well, pretty much bedbound. I had no idea what was going on.

“When I did finally get out of my room I wandered downstairs with a view to going to the doctor’s and I saw Johnny St Louis.

“Moments later the police arrived and I was arrested, much to my surprise.”

Speaking outside court, Det Con Ismail Mattar of Westminster Crime Squad said: “Taking such a large quantity of drugs off the streets of London is always a good result.”

St Louis, who pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply, and Pali, who pleaded guilty to producing a class A drug, will be sentenced at a later date.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

08:41
Owner Saby Thukral at the opening party of her store in Heath Street

Struggling with the challenge of shopping for her fashion-conscious daughters in the area, a Hampstead Garden Suburb mother has opened up a new children’s shop in Hampstead.

Yesterday, 09:00
Claire Meir part of a charity raising money for books for Syrian refugees in Turkey. Photo: Nigel Sutton

A mother was inspired to fundraise to buy books for Syrian children in Turkey after imagining what it would be like if her son was fleeing devastating civil war.

Yesterday, 09:00
The primary school pupils enjoyed a range of workshops. Photo: Jacqui Sinnatt

Camden and Islington primary school children enjoyed a taste of creativity away from the classroom at the Primary Careers Fair held at the British Library.

Fri, 17:03
Ray Davies is returning to Hornsey Town Hall

Ray Davies performed one of his first gigs at the iconic venue when he was still at school, before going on to form The Kinks

Fri, 15:37
The coffin arrives for the funeral of David Gest arriving at Golders Green Crematorium in north London.

Mourners have remembered music producer and TV star David Gest at a funeral service in Golders Green.

Fri, 13:34
PC Shane Moulds has been dismissed for misconduct

A Camden police constable has been sacked for punching a member of the public he was arresting and hurling abuse at him, calling him a ‘posh twat’

Fri, 13:33
Big Green Bookshop is raising money for Haringey schools.  Joint owner Tim West  pictured. Photo: Nigel Sutton

Two book owners was sickened when an opportunistic thief stole £600, but their customers were “unbelievably” supportive and in a “tsunami of loveliness” helped them raise more than nine times the amount in donations.

Fri, 12:39
Found dead: David Gest (Picture: Ian West/PA Wire)

The funeral of David Gest is set to take place this afternoon at Golders Green crematorium, according to reports.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Yummy traditional afternoon teas for two

MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Traditional Afternoon Teas for two at a location of your choice! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe