A drug dealer who administered a fatal dose of heroin to a vulnerable user was last night beginning an eight-year prison sentence.

Melanie Storey, who ran a lucrative business supplying a steady stream of callers to her home in Spennymoor, County Durham, was jailed after being found guilty of the manslaughter of 43-year-old Desmond Johns.

Storey was described as "possessing a streak of callousness", after Durham Crown Court heard how she ordered two young friends to remove Mr Johns from the house when he collapsed following the heroin injection.

One witness said she went back to the house later to find Storey taking heroin and watching television.

The body of Mr Johns, an unemployed building worker, was found slumped on a pavement near her house on the Tudhoe Moor Estate.

Despite the efforts of paramedics, he was declared dead later that evening, last November 5.

Throughout the 13-day trial, Storey, a self-confessed heroin addict with a £120-per-week habit, denied prosecution claims that she was not only a dealer, but she also injected her clients as part of the service.

During the course of the past two days, the jury of ten women and two men returned unanimous guilty verdicts to manslaughter, ten counts of supplying heroin, two of possessing heroin with intent to supply, and one of possessing the painkiller dihydrocodine with intent to supply.

The 32-year-old mother-of-three, who denied all the offences, was cleared of possession of cocaine with intent to supply and intimidating a witness.

A drugs trafficking hearing in the next four weeks will decide how much of the £900 recovered from her home after Mr Johns' death, and £10,000 found in a sister's bank account, said to be the proceeds of her dealing, can be confiscated.

Passing sentence, trial judge Mr Justice Bennett said the evidence against Storey was overwhelming.

He said: "You knew the risk of injecting persons with heroin. When this vulnerable man came to your house you injected him with a large dose of heroin.

"Possessing a streak of callousness, you were found in your bedroom smoking heroin, with a dead or dying man on your bed, and you got two people to drag his body down the stairs, out of the house, into the street, where he was found next to a telegraph pole.

"You accepted no part in Dessie Johns' death and no remorse for your actions at all."