Northern Ireland news

Nearly £260,000 of drugs found at partially blind woman's Co Down home

Nearly £260,000 worth of cocaine and cannabis was discovered at a partially blind woman's rodent-infested home in Co Down, the High Court has heard.

Kelly Ann Melly told police she knew nothing about the drugs and rarely ventures out of the bedroom due to her disability.

The 42-year-old's application for bail was adjourned until an industrial clean-up operation is carried out at the property currently assessed as unfit for human habitation.

Melly, of Ballyferris Walk in Bangor, faces charges of possessing and being concerned in the supply of Class A and B drugs following seizures made on May 20 this year.

Prosecution counsel Kate McKay said police found cocaine with an estimated street value of £196,000 and cannabis valued at £62,000 at the house.

Melly, who suffers from a severe cataracts condition, was detained in a bedroom while a man charged with the same offences was arrested downstairs the property.

According to Mrs McKay the house was in a "disgusting" state.

"Police found rodents, food waste, and human and animal faeces on the floor; it was basically a health hazard," she told the court.

During interviews Melly claimed to be unaware that any drugs had been stored at her home.

"She said she stays upstairs in her bedroom due to her poor eyesight," the barrister added.

It was accepted that Melly may not have played an active role in any alleged offending because of those vulnerabilities.

But despite indications that the Housing Executive and Social Services will now be involved in carrying out a deep clean, concerns were raised about releasing Melly at this stage.

"At the moment the house is still uninhabitable," counsel submitted.

Tom McCreanor, defending, argued that the drugs were located downstairs while his client remained "isolated" upstairs.

He suggested that Melly could be granted bail to liaise with those set to carry out the cleaning process.

Adjourning the application, however, Mr Justice McFarland decided she is to be allowed out of custody on an initial temporary basis when that operation is confirmed.

The judge explained: "Once the house has been cleaned and is fit for human habitation, I'm content that she should be released on bail to that address."


Northern Ireland news