Drug dealer who wrongly claimed he had been poisoned with novichok on the run over £60,000 stash | UK News

A drug dealer who “hoaxed” being poisoned with novichok is on the run after being found guilty of conspiracy to supply £60,000 of illegal drugs.

Alex King, 42, gave a series of excuses as to why he could not attend court nine times to face the charges, including being ill in hospital, being in a car accident and being out at sea.

On 16 September he and his Russian-born wife, Anna Shapiro, travelled to Salisbury to have dinner at Prezzo, not far from the Zizzi restaurant where the Skripals had dined before they were found slumped on a bench having been poisoned with novichok in March.

King, also known as Alex Von Nidda, collapsed in the restaurant and was rushed to hospital.

Baljit Gill (L) and Alex King lived a life of luxury, funded by drugs
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Baljit Gill (L) and Alex King lived a life of luxury, funded by drugs
King had £60,000 of drugs in his flat. Pic: Met Police
Image:
King had £60,000 of drugs in his flat. Pic: Met Police

He was released three days later after doctors found no poison, toxin or immediately obvious neurological reason to explain his symptoms.

Wiltshire Police’s enquiry is still ongoing into the Prezzo incident.

King’s “bizarre” party lifestyle was revealed during a hearing at Southwark Crown Court, where the jury heard he sold drugs, including cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine, and arranged high-class escorts to make money.

His associate, Baljit Gill, 38, of Welling, Kent, was convicted on Thursday for the same drugs charges as King.

Gill will be sentenced on Friday, while his accomplice is on the run. Pic: Met Police
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Gill will be sentenced on Friday, while his accomplice is on the run. Pic: Met Police

The following are a list of excuses King gave for not appearing in court:

:: King was taken to hospital the night before a court appearance in February 2018, but no medical evidence could be produced.

:: Two days later he claimed to be medically unfit as he was allegedly at University College Hospital, London.

:: In June 2018 his lawyer said he was again taken to hospital the night before the trial as he was in a road traffic collision.

King had £60,000 of drugs in his flat. Pic: Met Police
Image:
King had £60,000 of drugs in his flat. Pic: Met Police

:: A week later he failed to turn up and St Mary’s Hospital in London confirmed he had been released three days before after being in a minor collision, but no medical information was provided to support any continued suffering.

:: In August he breached his bail, which required him to stay overnight at his London home, when he travelled to north Wales and bought a boat from Holyhead Marina which he sailed out to sea. At 3am on 1 September the RNLI were called out to the boat to rescue King and his girlfriend after they ran out of fuel.

The drugs included cocaine, MDMA, ecstasy, crack cocaine, ketamine and diazepam. Pic: Met Police
Image:
The drugs included cocaine, MDMA, ecstasy, crack cocaine, ketamine and diazepam. Pic: Met Police

:: He was arrested four days later when he returned to London, then granted bail with an electronic tag curfew and had to sign on daily at Charing Cross Police Station.

Gill’s lawyer described King as a “very bizarre” individual who was a socialite desperate for involvement and attention from “anybody deemed to be a celebrity”.

Police are searching for Alex King who has gone on the run while he was tried in his absence. Pic: Met Police
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Police are searching for Alex King after he went on the run. Pic: Met Police

Police found King in bed with Ms Shapiro when they raided his Marylebone flat on 29 June, 2016.

They found cocaine, MDMA powder, ecstasy pills bearing the “Just Eat” logo, crack cocaine, ketamine and diazepam, with a street value of around £60,000.

Pictures and videos of King with his stash were found on his mobile phone.

The pair had class A, B and C drugs
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The pair had class A, B and C drugs

Gill was linked to the case by two mobile phones and fingerprints found on a box used to keep drugs.

Both of their phones had pictures and clips of them posing with expensive jewellery and one showed Gill driving an Aston Martin as he said: “It’s a present from Alex King to me.”

King, who was filming, then said: “£250,000. This is the same car they used in the James Bond film.”

Gill then handed his partner a wad of cash and King said: “This is how we roll. We’ve got plenty of these cars, we’ve got everything.

“We work hard. You’ve got to spend your money on something… We get a lot of haters, but that’s life I guess.”

Baljit Gill, 38, was King's associate. Pic: Met Police
Image:
Baljit Gill, 38, was King’s associate. Pic: Met Police

Jurors heard King had not bought Gill the car.

King and Gill will be sentenced on Friday for two charges of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, one charge of conspiracy to supply Class B drugs and one charges of conspiracy to supply Class C drugs, each.

Detective Constable Dharmesh Bakrania, said: “After being charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs, King has repeatedly delayed and frustrated attempts to bring him to justice.

“King was caught with a significant quantity of illegal drugs and he is likely to be sentenced to a number of years in jail.

“I would urge anyone that knows of his whereabouts to contact police immediately.”

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