A PROFESSIONAL boxer’s fight career has been left in ruins after he was caught with almost half a kilo of cocaine at his home in Leeds.
Justin Newell, 26, was jailed for three years, eight months after a court heard how he stashed the drug at the bungalow in Seacroft where he cared for his sick father.
Leeds Crown Court heard Newell had agreed to act as a “warehouseman” and stored the drug in order to pay off mounting gambling debts.
Newell’s manager and coaches from his amateur days wrote references on his behalf which were handed to the court.
They described him as a trustworthy, dedicated and reliable sportsman who had great potential.
Judge Tom Bayliss, QC, told Newell: “All that, I’m afraid, you have thrown away.”
Mehran Nassiri, prosecuting, said police went to the property Newell shared with his father on July 31.
They saw Newell briefly leave his home and hide something behind a conifer in the garden.
Police recovered a bag containing 486 grammes of the class A drug with a purity of 88 per cent. The court heard the drug was worth up to £43,000
Inside the property they found amphetamines worth £2,000 and a quantity of benzocaine, which is used as a cutting agent for the drugs.
Newell pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to supply, possession of a class B drug with intent to supply and possession of criminal property.
Angus MacDonald, said Newell accepted he would be facing a lengthy prison sentence.
He said: “He has thrown away his life and a promising sporting career.”
Mr MacDonald said Newell was a carer for his 79-year-old father, who suffers from heart disease.
Judge Bayliss said: “You were effectively keeping the drugs for another man. That was the penalty you were paying for borrowing money from him due to your gambling habit.”