Belfast Telegraph

Suspected drug dealer Steven Aughey denied bail after woman's fatal overdose

By Paul Higgins

An alleged drug dealer who police suspect of supplying the heroin that led to a woman's fatal overdose has been remanded in custody.

Steven Aughey (30) is facing 21 charges, including dealing heroin, cannabis and diazepam, between December 2013 and February, after a four-month undercover sting operation.

But Belfast Magistrates Court heard during his failed bail application that Aughey was on police bail on suspicion of causing a woman's death last December.

A PSNI detective constable revealed that police were awaiting the results of forensic tests into the woman's death but that officers suspected Aughey of supplying the heroin which caused the death.

On Saturday, Aughey – from Brae Hill Park in Belfast – confirmed that he understood the charges against him.

They include five counts, each relating to the possession and supply of class A heroin, class B cannabis and the acquiring of criminal property.

He faces six further charges in relation to the possession and supply of class C diazepam.

The PSNI officer told the court he believed he could connect Aughey to each of the charges, and said police were objecting to his release on bail amid fears of further offending and that he would flee the jurisdiction.

He described Aughey as a "self-confessed heroin addict" and that the only way he could fund that habit was to sell drugs, adding that with his offending history "he is unlikely to adhere to court orders".

The court heard how the charges arose after police conducted their undercover operation posing as customers to obtain "audio and visual footage of him and others allegedly involved in certain offences".

His solicitor revealed the sums of money involved amounted to only £70 and that although Aughey accepts that he supplied diazepam to undercover cops, he denied selling cannabis or heroin and that he could be released "with stringent conditions".

Refusing the application however, District Judge Bernadette Kelly said that no matter the amounts involved "heroin is heroin is heroin."

Remanding Aughey into custody to appear again on April 23 by videolink, the judge said the risk of him committing further offences was "exceptionally high".

She said that as Aughey is a confessed addict, "I cannot think of a single condition that would prevent him from becoming involved again".

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