TWO men who sold black market steroids to a teenager who later died have avoided jail.
Garry Penny, 21, and Alexander Moss-Austin, 18, were handed 12-month supervision orders and told to carry out 160 hours unpaid work for selling the drugs to Matthew Dear, 17, who died weeks after taking the drugs.
Speaking outside Basildon Crown Court yesterday, Matthew’s parents said they were furious at the sentence, which could not take their son’s death into account because medical evidence could not prove the drugs were to blame.
The court heard Matthew of Hamstel Road, Southend, had approached Moss-Austin, of Kings Road, Westcliff, in March last year, asking if he could get some steroids to help him beef up his muscles.
Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, said: “Matthew had ambitions of joining the Army, and he wanted to increase his strength and size in that regard, and decided to see whether or not he could obtain some steroids. Alexander Moss-Austin agreed to source steroid tablets and he made contact with the defendant Mr Penny.”
With Penny’s help, Moss-Austin was able to get hold of about 100 steroid pills for £80, and gave 50 to Matthew and 50 to another person in exchange for £40 each. Just weeks later in April, Matthew fell seriously ill and was taken to Southend Hospital. He was discharged but soon deteriorated.
He died in hospital following swelling to his brain days later.
Before he died, he told his dad Chris about taking the drugs, and Moss-Austin and Penny were arrested.
However, while an initial report on Matthew’s post-mortem examination showed the drugs could have caused his death, Mr Jackson said later reports cast doubt on the finding. He added: “There was insufficient evidence to invite this court to find, beyond reasonable doubt, that the drugs supplied by the two defendants caused the death of Matthew Dear.”
In December, Moss-Austin, of Kings Road, Westcliff, pleaded guilty to two counts of supplying class C drug methandienone.
Penny, of London Road, Westcliff, pleaded guilty to one count of supplying, or being involved in the supply, of methandienone.
Yvette Kresner and William Elwyn-Jones, representing Penny and Moss-Austin, asked for the defendants’ early pleas to be taken into account and that Matthew’s death could not be considered in the sentence. Mr Elwyn-Jones added Moss-Austin had not profited from the sale, and claimed the 18-year-old had been affected by his friend’s death.
Judge Alice Robinson, who also ordered Penny and Moss-Austin to pay £300 legal costs each, said nothing she could say or do could bring Matthew back.