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Top loyalist's wedding back on after judge orders £3k ring returned to coke dealing hood

Gary Coleman had to postpone his nuptials when cops raided his plush pad almost exactly a year ago, seizing his engagement ring

Gary Coleman

A top loyalist's wedding is possibly back on after a judge ordered a gold engagement ring to be returned to a drug dealing hood.

Gary Coleman had to postpone his nuptials when cops raided his plush pad at Belfast's Margaretta Plaza almost exactly a year ago, seizing his fiancée's £3,000 engagement ring - but it was the 50 grams of cocaine that landed him in Maghaberry on remand for the last 12 months.

The 29-year-old was due to be sentenced on Wednesday by Judge Paul Ramsey QC at Downpatrick Crown Court but the judge said he wanted time to consider the submissions from prosecution and defence barristers as well as guideline cases before he passes sentence.

Remanding Coleman back into custody, the judge said he would give his decision on June 15.

Originally from the Shankill but listed as of no fixed abode, Coleman had earlier pleaded guilty to offences of possessing cocaine with intent to supply, possession of pregabalin, receiving stolen goods, and possessing and converting criminal property.

Cops raided his city centre apartment and seized 53 grams of cocaine, 44 pregabalin tablets, £205 in cash, two luxury watches and the gold ring.

Among the charges he has confessed to, Coleman had admitted converting £3,000 of criminal cash and having shoplifted items including bottle of booze, men's shirts and electric shavers.

In addition to facing a jail sentence for dealing cocaine - his sixth drug conviction - the authorities are seeking a Serious Crime Prevention Order, submitting that putting restrictions on Coleman will protect the public.

The judge ordered that a watch and the ring be retuned to Coleman but the £205 which was seized be given to Action Deaf Youth.

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