Woman accused of drug dealing ‘is addicted to fruit machines’

The accused is allegedly addicted to using fruit machines
The accused is allegedly addicted to using fruit machines

A woman allegedly started dealing heroin in Belfast due to an addiction to fruit machines, the High Court heard on Wednesday.

Prosecutors claimed Eva Gallagher’s gambling habit was behind her suspected involvement in the city’s drugs trade.

The 39-year-old is accused of separate transactions in January at Botanic railway station and near her Ethel Street home.

She was granted bail but banned from entering parts of Belfast’s commercial area.

Gallagher is charged with two counts each of possessing and supplying Class A drugs.

Crown lawyer Adrian Higgins said she was first observed completing a suspected deal with a man on January 12.

Minutes later he was stopped close to a Tesco store on the Lisburn Road and found to be in possession of a wrap of heroin and tin foil, the court heard.

A week later Gallagher was allegedly viewed carrying out a similar drugs exchange with a man at the train station in south Belfast.

Asked what was behind her suspected dealing, Mr Higgins said: “As a consequence of a gambling addiction police believe she is becoming involved in the supply of drugs.

“I’m advised by the applicant’s partner that it appears to be (fruit) machines.”

Defence counsel Conor O’Kane argued that Gallagher has the support of a partner who runs his own electrical business.

“That relationship has been going on for three or four years, and for the majority of that time she has been drug free,” Mr O’Kane added.

Granting bail, Sir Richard McLaughlin imposed a curfew and excluded Gallagher from parts of the city centre and the streets around Botanic Avenue.

The judge said: “That is clearly an area she should avoid - it seems there’s also a problem with using gambling machines.”