A woman allegedly linked to supplying heroin in Belfast has been present at five sudden deaths in under three years, a court heard today.
Michelle Gill-Hamner was described as an addict plagued by a “very sad lifestyle”.
The 44-year-old was arrested in a police operation last Friday.
She appeared before Belfast Magistrates’ Court charged with counts of being concerned in the supply of heroin and diazepam to another.
Entering the dock in apparent discomfort, Gill-Hamner simply nodded to confirm she understood the charges against her.
An investigating detective opposed bail, claiming there was a risk of further offences.
He also cited the need to protect members of the public.
“Ms Gill-Hamner has been present at the sudden deaths of five persons in the last two and a half years,” the detective alleged.
Defence solicitor Michael Madden responded that he was only aware of one fatality.
He stressed: “She has never been convicted of any charges in relation to anyone dying, but it’s indicative of the very sad lifestyle she has had.”
The court heard she was never involved in any commercial supply.
“This is a drug addict taking drugs herself and with other people,” her lawyer said.
District Judge Fiona Bagnall was told Gill-Hamner had managed to stay off substances for seven months.
But according to Mr Madden she has been controlled by a man arrested at the weekend on suspicion of assaulting her.
“The defendant appears today in considerable pain from the injuries sustained,” he contended.
“There are burn marks and bruising; there’s something to support what she says about being under the influence of him.”
Granting bail, Mrs Bagnall ordered Gill-Hamner to live at an address approved by police.
She also imposed a curfew and banned her from taking drugs or being intoxicated.
Gill-Hamner is due back in court in four weeks time.