'Crack turned caring pal into murderer'

FRIENDS of an Ipswich murderer who stabbed his victim to death have told how hard drugs turned an educated animal lover into a killer.And they warn the town will be plagued with more violence if measures are not taken to curb the spread of deadly crack cocaine.

FRIENDS of an Ipswich murderer who stabbed his victim to death have told how hard drugs turned an educated animal lover into a killer.

And they warn the town will be plagued with more violence if measures are not taken to curb the spread of deadly crack cocaine.

Dreadlocked Paul Dwyer, known locally as Stuart, was a familiar sight to Ipswich shoppers as he hawked the Big Issue from his Dial Lane pitch.

The 31-year-old was sentenced to life imprisonment last month for the murder of 19-year-old London drug dealer Peter Brown.

The court heard how Stuart, a known crack addict, stabbed Peter Brown in the neck before injecting himself with heroin and cocaine.

But, according to friends of the 31-year-old, Stuart was a well-mannered pacifist before he started taking drugs.

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Stuart Leathers, who had known him for two years, said: "He was a well-educated bloke, full of potential. When I read about it in the paper I couldn't believe it was Stuart. He was the sort of quiet unassuming guy who would walk away from trouble rather than cause it. He never had a bad word to say about anybody."

Lakisha Mcquany , another pal of the last five years, called Stuart a caring friend who helped her get a job after she left college.

She said: "He was a great listener. He even helped me with my hair extensions. He wasn't a violent bloke. He was polite and well mannered. He liked clothes and music. I think he had been married when he was living in London and was hoping to set up a business when his marriage failed and he was left with nothing."

According Lakisha, a website designer for the council, Stuart never spoke of his parents but remained close to his grandmother in Manningtree.

"She had a couple of strokes and Stuart used to look after him."

She couldn't explain why Stuart sank into drug addiction.

She said: "When you think you have nothing then you also think you have nothing to lose."

Mr Leathers, who lives in Wells Close, went on: "Stuart's downfall was rapid. A few months was all it took to turn a guy known for his pacifism into a deranged murderer who I all probability cannot remember a thing about his moment of madness."

He warned that Peter Brown's murder would not be the last if the spread of crack cocaine went unchecked in the town.

He said: "The Evening Star is right to highlight the menace of crack cocaine. It is part of a new culture where dealers are armed to the teeth with weapons they would not hesitate in using.

"They're seeking new pastures because established dealers guard their patches ferociously. Unless something is done this will not be the last time there is a tragedy connected with crack cocaine and the deadly consequences of this evil drug."

Combating cocaine, and its deadly derivative crack, is a force priority for Suffolk constabulary.

Det Ch Insp Tim Beach said: "Suffolk constabulary recognises the public concern around Class A drugs and particularly cocaine. We target resources to combat this problem and will continue to do so."

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