THE glittering academic career of a woman accused of aiding three murder suspects faces “catastrophe” if she is found guilty, a court heard.
Jurors heard Rachel Kenehan’s career as a lecturer in criminology and sociology would be in tatters if she is found guilty of helping her drug dealer boyfriend and two co-defendants in the days after the fatal shooting of Jahmel Jones in Southampton on April 20 last year.
Kenehan’s boyfriend Pierre Lewis, Jemmikai Orlebar Forbes, and Isaac Boateng, who were dealing drugs in the city, are accused of shooting Mr Jones at a flat in 69 St Mary’s Street.
Kenehan, 35, is accused of helping their enterprise by hiring cars to ferry drugs from London to Southampton, taking penalty points racked up by Lewis through speeding offences, and letting them stay at her house in the days following April 20.
Lawrence Bruce, defending Kenehan, said his client’s character had been under “constant bombardment” throughout the trial proceedings because she “fell in love” with Lewis.
He said she mistakenly filled out penalty forms sent to her address after believing she was behind the wheel when a car driven by Lewis was captured speeding three times in Southampton.
Mr Bruce also distanced Kenehan from any knowledge of Lewis’s drug dealing until her suspicions arose close to April 20.
Mr Bruce told jurors: “Love is not a crime, otherwise we would all be in the dock. Loyalty is not a crime either. Neither is naivety, trust or indulgence.
“She finds herself in a horror story. From the brink of a potential glittering academic career, she is in the dock accused of very serious crimes. She is on the brink of professional catastrophe.
“Her character and good name is under constant bombardment, all because she fell in love.”
Lewis, 20, of Barnes, is jointly charged with the murder of Mr Jones along with Jemmikai Orlebar-Forbes, 20, of Cloudsdale Road, London, and Isaac Boateng, 22, of Hounslow.
They all deny the charge but have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
They are in the dock along with Kenehan, who denies conspiracy to supply class A drugs, assisting an offender and perverting the course of justice.