'Gifted student' stabbed by notorious drug gang days before court date
PUBLISHED: 10:58 22 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:08 22 August 2019
A gifted student was stabbed by a notorious drug gang just days before he was due to appear at court charged with dealing in Norwich.
Olungbenga Ibidunni had an offer accepted to study a masters degree in architecture at Sheffield University in September.
Instead he was jailed for 21 months at Norwich Crown Court on Wednesday after being caught dealing crack and heroin on the streets of Norwich.
Ibidunni was arrested on September 17 after two businesses - the Fat Cat Brewery Tap and Sprowston Road Co-Op - reported drug dealing in the area.
He was found with a manbag containing 100 wraps of crack and heroin, valued at around £500.
Isobel Ascherson, prosecuting, said Ibidunni told police he had taken ecstasy the day before and been driven to Norwich.
"He said he had come from London by car, did not know what town he was in and indicated he was homeless and had mental health difficulties," she said.
Ibidunni pleaded not guilty in November and had a trial fixed for July.
But Jonathan Goodman told the court he had been "set upon" by the London drugs gang just days before he was due at court.
"Quite evidently he was a gifted student," said Mr Goodman.
"On the face of it, it's a surprise he would involve himself in the unlawful sale of Class A drugs.
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"Having had some form of mental breakdown he had been sectioned, and not long released from the care he was receiving when he was preyed upon.
"He was set upon in the street by members of this gang and stabbed just days before he was due before this court.
"When he was brought to Norwich he was subject to threats and fear, and did not have the mental fortitude to resist.
"He was also in the thrall of drug taking himself at the time.
"He has effectively set about ruining his career. He hopes to rebuild that."
He added Ibidunni had "spun a yarn" to police.
"That is due to pressure he was being subjected to by a quite notorious gang," he said.
Judge Anthony Bate said Ibidunni was a "talented young man" with a bright future.
"All that is sadly lost to you in the immediate future," he said. "It is vulnerable people like you who are exploited by unscrupulous people higher up the chain.
"That is the stark reality.
"I would be failing in my public duty if I took any other course than immediate custody today."
Ibidunni, of Forest Road, Walthamstow, was jailed for 21 months.