North Berwick amputee suffers ‘phantom pains’

Haddington Sheriff Court

Haddington Sheriff Court

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A man turned to heroin and cannabis after suffering from ‘phantom pains’ after having his leg amputated.

Disabled Neil Kerr, of 52 Gilbert Avenue, North Berwick, was found to be using the illegal drugs to ease the sensations in his missing limb following a police raid on the home he shares with his carer.

Kerr, who is confined to a wheelchair, was allowed not to appear in person at Haddington Sheriff Court on Monday, December 30, where he was fined in his absence.

Depute procurator fiscal Calum Darling told the court police officers discovered the heroin and tin foil used to smoke the drug on Kerr’s living room table, while a subsequent search unearthed a small quantity of cannabis in a bedroom cupboard.

Solicitor Angela Craig said her 50-year-old client had his right leg amputated some time ago and was slightly paralysed on his left side.

Ms Craig added Kerr is “almost completely housebound” and suffers from a “number of significant disabilities” including having part of his bowel removed.

Ms Craig said: “Although he takes prescription drugs to manage the pain, he has also, from time to time, taken other drugs to alleviate the discomfort he has.

“The amounts are relatively small amounts, and he has sought advice from his doctor to assist with his medication.

“He has been suffering from phantom pains following the amputation, and has been looking for advice on medication for that rather than resorting to illegal drugs.”

The court was also told Kerr, who was said “not to be a heavy user” had four previous convictions for drug possession.

Co-accused Allan Wright, who was described in court as Kerr’s carer, has pleaded not guilty to possessing cannabis at the home they share, and he will return to court to stand trial in April.

Kerr admitted to possessing £20 worth of diamorphine and £15 of cannabis following the police search on his home in August.

Sheriff Alasdair MacFadyen fined Kerr a total of £165.

More stories from Haddington Sheriff Court in this week’s East Lothian News, on sale now.

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