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

Yesterday, 18:06

Virginia McKenna, actress and founder of the Born Free wildlife charity, is the latest to sign a 4,500-strong petition to create a haven for swans on the island on Hampstead Heath’s model boating pond.

Yesterday, 15:13

Camden Council’s leader has said the prime minister’s commitment to removing the UK from the EU’s single market is “deeply concerning” – and pledged to push for the “greatest possible access”.

Yesterday, 12:48

A plan to resurrect the Old White Bear pub in Hampstead by sharing its upper floors with a school has been given the go-ahead.

Yesterday, 11:47

Work will begin to replace gas mains in Gospel Oak after a public outcry forced its delay last year.

Yesterday, 11:16

A man died after being hit by a train in King’s Cross station yesterday.

Yesterday, 10:00

A 69-year-old man with stage 3 cancer has claimed he was “shoved in a corner” of A&E for 16 hours after being rushed to hospital with open wounds.

Yesterday, 10:00

A “legendary” music promoter has raised £10,000 in three days as he looks to fund treatment for an extremely rare form of cancer.

Wed, 17:09

The solicitor, who features in the film Denial, says there is “reams and reams” of far-right material online, and search engines should take a stand

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

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

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now