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New Forest drug dealer given three years' jail

Jamie Baker
Jamie Baker

A NEW Forest drug dealer was sent to prison for three years while his former partner whom he abused and “coerced” into dealing was spared jail.

Mother-of-two Katie White (30) described herself in texts as fellow defendant Jamie Baker’s “secretary” but told Southampton Crown Court that in fact she was regularly subjected to assaults and verbal abuse.

Records showed she had once been rushed to hospital with head injuries which she said were caused by an angry Baker (33) shoving her against a door.

The court heard the couple’s drug dealing was exposed after police raided their home in James Close, Fawley – where White’s two young daughters were living – in March 2019.

They found more than £2,300 in cash, cannabis, white bags containing traces of cocaine, and drug paraphernalia.

Three phones were discovered, prosecutor Robert Bryan explained – two belonging to Baker and one to White. They contained thousands of text messages relating to drugs.

Baker, now of Lyndhurst Road, Ashurst, and White were both charged with being concerned in the supply of cannabis and cocaine, and each pleaded guilty on a certain basis.

White said she was coerced into the offending by her partner, while Baker said he dealt drugs under pressure from others.

Their claims were tested at a special hearing to determine the facts, which was told Baker’s cocaine habit had got him into debt with his dealers, and he had been forced by people “higher up the drug hierarchy” to repay those by dealing cocaine and cannabis.

White said she met Baker in 2015 while at “a low ebb”. She had been nursing her grandfather before his death which caused her to give up being an auxiliary nurse at Lymington hospital.

She suffered depression and anxiety, and said she wanted “what all women want – a house with a white picket fence and a loving man”, thinking she had found that in Baker.

He moved in with her in 2017 but things soon turned sour. She stayed with him, however, requesting that any drug dealing take place away from the home.

She said she got into a degrading pattern as she felt “isolated” from her friends and her family, while Baker daily abused her verbally and at times “pinched, slapped and scratched” her.

White said she felt unable to seek help for the domestic abuse as she was “scared” of what Baker would do.

The court heard neighbours had called a domestic abuse group because of their concerns, but when it tried to contact White she did not respond.

White told the court the raid was a “blessing” as it enabled her to escape her situation. She has since completed rehabilitation courses and been rehomed, and said she was in a much better place, adding: “I am finally finding my voice and finding myself now.”

But the prosecutor highlighted texts recovered from her phone asking others for cocaine and exchanges with Baker’s customers who wanted drugs, pricings and drop-offs.

In one message responding to Baker, White said of a drugs customer: “He owes you a lot of money, Mr Baker. One is simply doing her secretary job.”

White told the court she had used drugs and sold them to friends on occasion, but wanted no part of that world.

Defending Baker, Chris Gaiger said his client accepted prison was an inevitability. He added Baker was investigated over the coercive control allegations, but police decided to take no further action in respect of that.

Sentencing White, Judge Nicholas Rowland noted her lack of previous offending, remorse and said he had found “plenty of evidence of coercion”.

It was a “close shave” but he opted to suspend her two-year jail term for two years and told her to do 200 hours of unpaid work.

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