A terminally ill man caged for his part in a £5million heroin run to Yorkshire had his sentence nearly halved after top judges took pity on him as a dying man.
Sabri Karatas, aged 37 and from Hackney, east London, is in the acute stages of bowel cancer, London’s Appeal Court heard, and requires constant care.
In May, he was handed a 12-year sentence after he admitted conspiracy to supply 20 kilos of high purity heroin - worth around £5m on the street.
Karatas, of Harrogate Road, also pleaded guilty to possessing a pistol, ammunition, and body armour and was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
He was recruited as a courier to travel up to Heckmondwike, to take delivery of a heroin consignment.
He used a cab for the journey but, unknown to him, he was under police surveillance from the early stages of the narcotics deal.
He was filmed by police as he stopped in the Yorkshire town to collect a heroin package from a long-distance lorry driver who was part of the narcotics gang.
Karatas was intercepted soon after as he sped back to London in the cab. The heroin haul was discovered under the passenger seat.
A subsequent search of Karatas’ Hackney home uncovered a pistol, ammunition and body armour.
Karatas said he had been ordered to collect the package from Yorkshire and was given the gun and paraphernalia to take with him for protection.
He was to be paid £4,500 for his role as courier but decided to leave the gun and body armour at home, the court heard.
The case reached court as Karatas’s legal team urged three judges to cut his sentence due to the “severe recent deterioration in his health”.
Mr Justice Spencer explained that Karatas, who watched the hearing live from his hospital custody suite via video link, is now living on borrowed time.
“It is unlikely that he will survive beyond one year,” he told the court.
Karatas’s lawyers urged the court to take pity on him by slashing his sentence to a point where he can spend his final months with his family.
The appeal judge, sitting with Lord Justice Davis and Mr Justice Lindblom, said he understood Karatas’s desire to be at home during the final stages of his illness.
But the case was far too serious to justify a cut in sentence that would result in his immediate release, he added.
However, purely as an “act of mercy”, the Court agreed to cut Karatas’s sentence to seven years.
It will now be up to Home Secretary, Theresa May, whether to release Karatas on compassionate grounds, said Mr Justice Spencer.
“We extend our sympathy and good wishes to him and his family,” the judge concluded.