Avebury meditation guru committed suicide after drugs bust, court told
Avebury villagers have expressed shock after learning a man who ran a meditation centre in the village was the operator of a multi-million pound cannabis factory.
After his suicide in May, neighbours spoke of meditation guru and crystal healing specialist Adrian Mieras as a gentle and kind man.
But on Thursday (June 30) Gloucester Crown Court was told how Mieras, 61, killed himself after being arrested for running a cannabis factory in a house in Cheltenham.
Mieras, who ran the Avebury Heart Centre, was found dead in a room at the Holiday Inn, Amesbury, last month when he failed to check out after a two day stay.
Mieras had been accused of cultivating more than 400 cannabis plants found growing in the basement of a house in Brighton Road, Cheltenham, on January 16 this year.
Prosecutor Julian Kesner told Gloucester crown court yesterday "We say Mr Mieras was the main man in this cannabis factory. He was arrested at the house in January. Unfortunately he committed suicide during the currency of the police investigation."
Mr Kesner was speaking during the hearing of the case against kitchen salesman Richard Brown, 33, who admitted assisting Mieras in the operation by acting as a 'gardener' in the house.
Brown, of Charles Street, Cheltenham, pleaded guilty to producing a controlled drug on January 16, and was sentenced to two years jail suspended for two years. He was also ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work and pay £750 costs.
Mr Kesner told the court "Mr Mieras had a number of drug-related convictions including for production of cannabis and supply of cannabis.
"The police seized Mr Mieras' phone when he was arrested and this led them to discover texts sent to Mr Brown. This was a cannabis factory and Mr Brown was more than just a gardener - we say he was also involved in the installation of fans and controllers, he took out dead plants and he removed males plants.
"He was not a partner in this business, but he was acting under the instructions of Mr Mieras."
However, said Mr Kesner, it was clear from the texts that Brown had ceased to be involved at the end of December 2015 and that someone else had then taken on the 'gardening' work.
"This is described as a sophisticated cannabis growing operation," Mr Kesner said. "There were 407 plants with an estimated yield value between £44,000 and £170,000. Eighty plants were mature and 327 were in different stages of growth.
"The drugs squad officer who viewed the place said it would produce three crops a year in a rotation cycle. It was potentially worth millions of pounds over a few years.
"They were selling cannabis by the kilo to a few trusted buyers. It was an operation which would have produced a lot of money for Mr Mieras.
"The officer says there is no evidence that this defendant was involved in the direct sale of the cannabis. There was an element of naivety on his part because the police had no trouble finding the texts from Mr Mieras on his phone."
Lloyd Jenkins, defending, said Brown was of previous good character and the father of a young child. He had been working in a tailor's shop in Cheltenham at the time of the offence and was in financial difficulties so he succumbed to the temptation to get involved.
But he was paid only small amounts of money plus some cannabis.
He now had work as a kitchen salesman and was looking to better himself by taking a BA Hons course in history and politics, Mr Jenkins said.
He told the court Brown had stopped working for Mieras when he realised he was planning to expand the illegal business considerably.
Judge Jamie Tabor QC told Brown he was an 'idiot on three counts' - for getting involved in the first place, for then ignoring his partner's plea to him to stop, and for believing that he would be well paid by Mieras.
"Unsurprisingly, you were double crossed," said the judge.
Earlier this month when an inquest was opened on Mieras, the Wiltshire coroner was told a number of hand-written letters and empty packets of medication were found by police. His body was identified by his partner, Helen Keeley.
The hearing was told he was found on May 17 at noon in a hotel room where he had staying for two days.
The inquest has been adjourned to a date to be fixed.