A MAN arrested as part of a probe into the death of a Southampton man has been jailed for drugs offences after more than three years on the run.

Kassel Gayle, 25, was one of seven men arrested in 2016 following the death of Michael Freshwater.

The dad-of-four’s body was found at an address in Westridge Road, Portswood, in April that year.

Daily Echo:

No-one was ever charged over the death of the 49-year-old, who, according to evidence heard at an inquest, had suffered stab wounds after attempting to confront a group of drug dealers with a sawn-off shotgun.

However, during Hampshire Constabulary’s investigation, officers uncovered a London based drugs network operating in Southampton.

Gayle was one of seven men arrested for drug offences at the time.

But he went on the run after being released on bail, while his counterparts were all jailed in early 2017 for a combined total of 28-and-a-half years.

Now police say Gayle has been jailed for 16 years, after being arrested at Gatwick Airport in June last year.

Police say an officer at the Sussex-based airport noticed a man acting suspiciously.

Gayle’s description had been circulated on the police national computer (PNC) and as such the tattoo on his neck caught the officer’s attention.

Gayle tried to give the officer false details, but his identity was revealed through the use of a mobile fingerprint machine.

Yesterday Gayle, from Norwood, south east London, was jailed at Kingston Crown Court for seven years and six months for conspiracy to supply class A drugs, heroin and crack cocaine

In addition he received 12 years consecutively for a robbery offence in London.

The two sentences were reduced, under the principles of totality, to a total of 16 years.

A spokesperson for Hampshire Constabulary said: “Three years on, most people may have thought we had closed this case.

“This sentencing shows that we are always working hard behind the scenes to ensure all those involved in criminality are brought to justice.”

As previously reported in the Echo, an inquest heard Mr Freshwater had taken a sawn-off shotgun and had gone to a flat in Westridge Road, Portswood, with the intention to rob three drug dealers – Kevin Suika, Tristan Pope and Dantai Thompson.

Daily Echo:

The shotgun was fired into the ceiling and in the struggle Mr Freshwater suffered the fatal wounds.

All three men were jailed for drug dealing after the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute the trio for Mr Freshwater’s death, due to a lack of evidence.

Speaking after the inquest, in March 2017, Detective Inspector Simon Baker, from Hampshire Constabulary’s Major Crime Team, said the police had been advised by the Crown Prosecution Service that there was “not enough evidence” to a pursue a charge relating to Mr Freshwater’s death.

Paying tribute at the time of his death, Michael’s partner Jenny Downey said: “Micky was my world and I’m absolutely heartbroken. Goodnight my Micky, I will always love you.

“My life will never be the same.”