FIVE years ago this summer, a major investigation into drug dealing in Cirencester came to a shocking conclusion when one of the culprits took his own life the day before he was due to be sentenced.
Jason Daniels was found dead in the woods behind Cirencester Hospital on June 23, 2015. He was just 44.
Daniels, of Querns Road, was due to be sentenced the following day, for conspiring to deal cocaine in Cirencester, and was facing prison.
One of his co-conspirators was his own father, Michael ‘Mick’ Daniels, then 67, who had also admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine. Mr Daniels went on to die of a heart attack in January 2019.
The other was a Gloucester drug dealer called Marvin Anderson who sold the cocaine to the Daniels, who would then deal the Class A substance in Cirencester.
Jason had also admitted possessing cannabis and driving while disqualified. Prior to that, Daniels had been in court before. In November 2014 he was found guilty of assaulting a police officer while drunk outside of his home on March 7 that same year. He appeared in court a month later for assaulting three women as well as attacking a man with a chair while drunk in the Mad Hatter wine bar in Castle Street in September 2014.
It was on December 19, 2014 that Jason was in court with his father, Michael, facing the serious drug charges.
Michael, of Lawrence Road in Cirencester, would later tell the court that he only got involved in Jason’s drug dealing to help pay off his son’s debts.
Sarah Jenkins, representing Michael in court, said: “Jason Daniels was going through a desperate time. He owed money to undesirable people. Both of them reported occasions where there were gunshots fired at Jason’s address.
“The motivation for Jason Daniels was that he owed money to people that he was scared of and he needed his dad.”
At another hearing that same year, a detective told the court that Jason and Michael bought cocaine “little and often” from Anderson to sell in Cirencester.
Prosecutor Julian Kesner said that Jason, Michael and Anderson regularly changed the mobile phones they used to communicate. Police watched 10 meetings between the trio where drugs were supplied in the summer of 2014.
After compiling enough information from tracking the group’s meetings, in September that year, police stopped Michael as he was returning from a meeting with Anderson. He was arrested after three ounces of high strength cocaine was discovered.
A short time later Anderson was also arrested in his own vehicle and subsequently Jason was arrested on the same day.
Jason and his father, along with Anderson, admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine, between April 16 and September 12 in 2014.
Jason admitted possessing cannabis provided by Anderson, who himself pleaded guilty to possession of £6,600 in cash and admitted he had supplied about half a kilo of the Class B drug to Jason.
Later, the court would hear that Jason was becoming increasingly distraught as his life unravelled and prison loomed over him. During a hearing in May 2015, Paul Grumbar, defending Jason, told the court that his client was ‘in a terrible state’ – partly because of drinking but primarily because of the recent break-up of his relationship. “He is very, very tearful,” Mr Grumbar said.
Then, on the afternoon of June 23, 2015, one day before the group were due to be sentenced, the body of Jason was discovered by a member of the public in the woods behind Cirencester Hospital, with police called at 12.40pm.
Following the news, Michael and Anderson’s court date was pushed back by over two months.
At Gloucester Crown Court on August 7, 2015, Michael was sentenced to one year in prison and one year on licence. Anderson was given five-and-a-half years and told he had to spend half of his sentence in jail with the other half out on licence.
After being released from prison, Michael died in January 2019 after suffering a heart attack aged 71.
Following Jason’s death in 2015, friends paid their respects on social media.
One tribute said: “Gone but not forgotten. My heart goes out to your family and friends.”
Another said: “Beautiful soul, mostly misunderstood but massively missed by those who cherish him.”