Bedford Town player faces four-and-a-half years jail for drug offences

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Rory McCauley (photo: Norfolk Police)

A Bedford Town footballer whose life ‘ended’ when his sister was murdered, has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail after being caught with almost half a kilo of cocaine.

Rory McAuley, 32, was sentenced at Norwich crown court on Thursday (12 May) having previously admitted being concerned in the supply of cocaine, possessing cocaine with intent to supply and possession of criminal property.

Read: Bedford Town FC player caught with half a kilo of cocaine faces 11-year jail sentence

However, the court heard he had “exceptional, if not unique mitigation” after his sister, Kerri McAuley was murdered in 2017.

Jenni Dempster QC, mitigating for McAuley, said there had been “truly exceptional circumstances” in the defendant’s case.

Referring to the tragic events of  2017, she said that her client’s life, and that of his family, “didn’t just change, it ended in a sense” when his sister was murdered by her abusive ex-partner Joe Storey.

She said that following the “disaster that has been the reality of his and his family’s life since 2017”, McAuley’s life went into a downward spiral and his mental health suffered.

She asked the court to “considerably reduce the starting point to reflect the exceptional if not unique mitigation” on his behalf and insisted that McAuley had only been involved for a five-week period.

Rory McAuley (Image: Bedford Town Football Club Facebook page)

The court heard that co-defendant Ismail Thompson, 30, had been to McAuley’s home address in Norwich at about 3pm on May 13 last year.

During a search of the Norwich address, McAuley told police to look upstairs in his jacket where they found 496g of cocaine. They also found £3,000 in cash in his bedroom.

McAuley was said to have played a “significant role” but was “operating his own selling enterprise”.

Judge Anthony Bate described McAuley as a footballer with some “considerable success in the local leagues” and referred to the detrimental effect the “family tragedy of which this court is only too aware” had had on the player’s life.

McAuley was signed to King’s Lynn Town at the time of the offence. After his contract was terminated in June 2021, he signed to Bedford Town in September.

A fan-favourite at the Eyrie, McAuley was part of the championship-winning side this season.

Bedford Town FC said they were unable to comment as the case was not club-related.

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