[Source: Daventry Express Published: Thursday, 31 May, 2001]
A judge has praised the Jesus Army for the help it was giving to a man he sentenced to three years jail for the manslaughter of a fellow drug user.
Fernando Dias, aged 33, who used to live at Barby Road, Daventry, prepared a syringe of heroin and gave it to Eddie Escott who died within five minutes of injecting it.
Portuguese national Dias was said by his barrister Nigel Rumfitt QC to have come to Northamptonshire to be with the Jesus Army Christian fellowship, which has its base in the Bugbrooke area.
Mr Rumfitt said: “He is now drug free and hopes to continue with that with the support of the Jesus Army.”
Judge Julian Hall said: “I am impressed by the way someone from that organisation has been present throughout the trial.”
Dias had denied the charge but was found guilty last Wednesday by a Northampton Crown Court jury after a four hour retirement at the end of the three day trial.
The jury was told Dias and 34-year-old Mr Escott were staying at the time of the offence, August 27, at Northampton’s Oak Street night shelter.
The pair pooled £10 to buy heroin and they went to some nearby old people’s flats which were used by drug addicts. Dias, an experienced injector, prepared a fix and gave it to Mr Escott. He was found to have died principally from heroin intoxication although other substances were found at the post mortem.
Dias did not give evidence. Mr Rumfitt said there was no evidence that Dias had injected Mr Escort or that he had assisted or wilfully encouraged him to take heroin — factors that had to be established to prove the charge.
Judge Hall told Dias: “You were a heroin user. So was Mr Escott. As far as we know he was someone who smoked heroin.
“It was you who prepared everything. You prepared the syringe and handed it to Mr Escott who was probably injecting himself for the first time. He injected himself with heroin knowing what it was and what he was doing. But you played a part in his death.”