Man, 81, jailed for being getaway driver for drug dealer

Steven Morris
Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA

An 81-year-old former burger van worker who took up work as a getaway driver to overcome his “isolation” and helped an alleged drug dealer flee the UK, has been jailed.

Ian Hemmens, of Chichester in West Sussex, was used because his age and appearance meant he would not draw attention. He was prepared to act as a driver because it gave him the chance to have a chat with someone, Portsmouth crown court was told.

Hemmens showed no emotion as he was told by the judge, Roger Hetherington, he would serve a jail term of nine months after being found guilty of assisting an offender, alleged to be a man called Mahamud Sami, who has not been caught.

Hemmens’ co-defendant, Akeem Adebayo, 23, of Colindale in north London, was jailed for nine years for wounding with intent and two charges of possessing cocaine and heroin with intent to supply.

The judge told Hemmens: “You would have been aware that you were being used as a driver whose age and appearance would have been unlikely to draw attention.”

The court heard Hemmens acted as a driver in his green Citroën C3 for Adebayo and the other alleged drug dealer, Sami, from Chichester to Bognor Regis on 10 March.

Amy Packham, prosecuting, told the court a dispute broke out with a rival drug dealer that led to Adebayo and Sami chasing and catching the rival.

Adebayo held the rival on the ground and Sami allegedly stabbed him five or six times, Packham said. Hemmens arrived and picked Sami up.

The prosecutor said: “He [Sami] was seen to sprint to the car, jump in the back and disappear into the footwell.”

She said Sami’s last known whereabouts was on a flight to Bahrain and added: “There is an all ports warning out for him.”

Mark Kessler, defending, said: “It’s unusual to find a man of Mr Hemmens’ background in court at his age for a matter of this nature.”

Saying the client’s isolation had led to his involvement, he added: “The defendant admits that he likes talking to people and that is why it has come about.”