A BASINGSTOKE woman accused of robbing a drugs runner was a 'vulnerable user' and has been thrown 'to the lions', her solicitor has said.

Paige Taylor allegedly tried to help the stricken Taylor Williams, who was stabbed after an altercation in a property in Shooters Way and fled out of a window, it has been claimed.

The 24-year-old is accused of robbing class A drugs from a runner in Bermuda Park, Popley, on August 31, 2019, before helping to plan the attempted robbery of the Ray county lines network in Kingfisher House later that evening.

Winchester Crown Court heard on Wednesday that, on the day of the incident, Miss Taylor had been told by drug lord Nemo to go to a property in Bennet Close, Oakridge used by the network to house runners.

It was there she met up with Olamide Soyege and Terence Maccabee, who also worked for Nemo.

The trio, alongside a witness in the case, are then said to have walked to Bermuda Park at around 8pm where they had arranged a deal with the Coco line.

But when the runner came towards the group, it is claimed by the prosecution that Soyege, 29, punched him in the stomach, with a wrap of drugs flying out of his mouth.

Prosecutor Sarah Jones QC previously told the court that the runner was bundled into a nearby alley, where he was held down by Soyege and Maccabee, whilst Miss Taylor removed drugs from his bottom with a spoon.

However, defending the Basingstoke woman, Elizabeth Bussey Jones said that the evidence against her client had been made up by witnesses who had painted her with a "prejudiced brush".

"Paige Taylor herself according to those witnesses was known as a local class A drug addict," she told jurors on Wednesday.

"You are being asked by The Crown to notice the vulnerability of class A drug addicts in this case, then remember that Paige Taylor falls under the same umbrella.

"The Crown cling to their star witness, using phrases as ‘law of the jungle’ and the concept of people looking out for themselves – it is probably fair to say that people living in the murky world of drugs will be watching their own backs.

"They are not going to be living by the same rules the rest of us willingly comply with. Can those witnesses put forward the truthful account?

"You have [one witness] who says it was pitch black.

"I cross examined her about the totally unbelievable account that Paige Taylor would carry out the almost medical procedure of removing drugs from a bottom with a spoon.

"[The witness] said 'I saw a glint'. But a glint is not a spoon. Is [she] telling you something that is more a figment of her imagination? Can you be sure that Paige Taylor, on that evidence, was party to use or threat of force?"

Ms Bussey Jones added that she was "new to the scene", and that she had not met many of the witnesses in the case.

Miss Taylor is also accused of conspiracy to rob the Ray network in Kingfisher House that evening.

Around an hour after the group had returned to Bennet Close following the Bermuda Park incident, they left again, this time for Shooters Way.

It is alleged that en route, the group had concocted a plan to rob the Ray county lines network, who were based in Kingfisher House and had arrived in the town the night before, advertising drugs.

The prosecution argue that Soyege and Maccabee went into the flat whilst Miss Taylor stayed outside on watch. However, Ms Bussey Jones said that there had been no conspiracy, labelling the idea she was a lookout as "farcical".

Telling the court that she had been trying to help the dying Williams after he jumped out of the window of Kingfisher House, Ms Bussey Jones added: "The one thing she is not doing is playing any part of something that indicated she was part of a conspiracy.

"This is not a case of completely innocent people caught up in an incident. The rest of them are up to their ears in the world of drugs at this point.

"If something like this incident has led to the likes of [two witnesses] to steer clear of drugs, then good on them. That is what we want for everybody.

"But at the time they were all in the drugs scene. They were allowing drugs to be operated from their homes.

"You will appreciate Paige Taylor is one of the people in this scene, but she is essentially new to this scene.

"There is now an element of throwing her to the lions to make others seem more innocent.

"I’m all up for people shouldering responsibility but that applies across the board, and that only applies if there is a burden of responsibility to carry.

"I submit to you that the evidence is not enough to make her a party to a robbery or a proven conspirator. Her actions in Shooters Way are evidence that Paige Taylor was not there on that day to do people harm."

Both Maccabee and Soyege are accused of murder, robbery and conspiracy to rob. Maccabee was acquitted of possession of a knife in Shooters Way after the judge deemed that he had no case to answer. Meanwhile, Soyege still stands accused of that charge.

Maccabee is also accused of having a knife in Bermuda Park, Popley, earlier that evening.

Paige Taylor is not accused of murder, but does stand trial charged with robbery and conspiracy to rob.

The trio deny all charges. The trial continues.