Cardiff University student who hid a drug dealer’s gun in a plant pot at her uni halls pleads guilty

She covered it with cement, compost and a rhubarb plant

A former Cardiff University student has pleaded guilty to the possession of a firearm and actions intending to pervert the course of public justice, after she was found hiding a drug dealer’s gun in a plant pot at her university accommodation.

Rachel Crothers, a 22-year-old student, buried the semi-automatic Grand Power 9mm in a container and then covered it with cement, compost and a rhubarb plant. She hid the weapon for Alfie Larkin, a 24-year-old drug dealer from London, and her friend.

Crothers has been sentenced at the Cardiff Crown Court to 20 months in custody, suspended for 18 months, and required to undertake 240 hours of unpaid work. She has also been ordered to remain on curfew for a further four months and to undertake a rehabilitation activity requirement for up to 20 days.

Detective Chief Inspector Lloyd Williams from South Wales Police said: “The use of firearms in South Wales is extremely rare and when it does happen, as Alfie Larkin has found out, we are determined to go after those involved. It was very fortunate that nobody was seriously injured or worse as a result of this incident.

“We will not tolerate the use of firearms in Cardiff or any part of South Wales. Cardiff is a safe city and we are working hard to keep it that way.”

During the trial at Cardiff Crown Court, Crothers said she hid the gun after Larkin fired it in a motorhome, for which his sentence was extended to 17 years.

According to the court, the pair met on a night-out in Cardiff and became friends. Crothers developed feelings for Larkin—which weren’t reciprocated.

Prosecuting counsel Susan Ferrier said: “Crothers would use drugs on occasion and Larkin would provide her and some of her house mates with those drugs.”

Subsequently after Larkin was arrested, Crothers and a friend went to a local hardware store to buy items to help hide the firearm. She was then caught after she bragged about her actions to Larkin during a visit to prison which was recorded secretly.

Soon after South Wales Police found the gun after x-raying the plant pot at University Hospital Wales.

Crothers’ lawyer, Christopher Rees, claimed that Larkin “manipulated” her in order to further his criminal career and called her “both naive and gullible”. He further said her actions have meant that she will be unable to become a teacher as she had wished and that her mental health has been negatively affected by the situation.

A Cardiff University spokesperson said: “We can confirm that the individual […] is no longer a Cardiff University student.”

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