A mum caught twice driving drugs 16 times the legal limit has walked out of court after a judge ruled she needed ‘help, not punishment’.
Abbie Heaney, 31, was arrested driving her Vauxhall Astra last year after police suspected her vehicle was being used for drug trafficking.
Tests showed she had 800 micrograms of the cocaine metabolite Benzoylecgonine per liter of blood in her system. The legal limit is 50 mg only.
The police who arrested her also recovered a crack packet thrown by a passenger she was driving.
Inquiries revealed that Heaney, of Bromley Cross in Bolton, Greater Manchester, had provided an identical drug reading the previous year but escaped with a £120 fine.
She had also been given a suspended prison sentence after she was caught smuggling drugs through a prison.
At Manchester Crown Court, skilled beautician Heaney faced jail after admitting to driving with drugs.
However, she was ordered to complete a two-year community order after her solicitor said she was in debt of over £30,000 plus a 15-year cocaine addiction.
Sentencing her, Judge Nicholas Dean QC said: “I want you to think about the position you put yourself in because it seems likely you were helping the drug deal, you knew what was going on and what the car was for for.
“You’re not doomed for it – but it reflects the lifestyle you’ve been led to.
“I’m not saying you have a lot of choices and you’ve had a hard life, but unless you get out of this situation, the time will come when, in the not too distant future, you will be arrested for providing drugs and go to jail for a long time.”
The judge added: “The world you live in doesn’t give you a lot of opportunities to get out of the hole you’ve been in.
“But you are a smart young woman who knows the mess your life is in and I think you need help rather than punishment.
“You are someone who is able to work, so I suggest that getting a job will be the best thing you can do – even if it’s something fairly ordinary and not very paying, but something that gives you structure and routine in your life.”
Earlier the court heard how Heaney was arrested on May 5 last year while driving in the Walkden area of Salford.
Prosecutor Miss Jennifer Devans-Tamakloe said: ‘The vehicle came to the attention of a police officer as it was briefed before it went out on patrol, saying the services intelligence had linked the car to the drug supply in the area.
“The car then made a sharp turn in an apparent attempt to evade police and officers saw the front passenger get out of the vehicle and flee on foot.
“The vehicle was followed on the forecourt of a Texaco service station where it came to a stop and the accused was arrested while he was in the driver’s seat.
“Medications which the passenger had discarded were recovered and this defendant was arrested for being involved in the supply of class A drugs.
“She referenced her daily crack use and a drug test was taken which came back positive for cocaine.”
HUGE DRUG DEBT
In September 2020, Heaney also tested 800mg of cocaine when she stopped driving her Astra in Bolton.
The previous year she had been convicted of smuggling Class C drugs into Haverigg Prison near Millom, Cumbria, after she was ‘coerced’ into bringing the package to inmates.
In mitigation, defense attorney Kevin Liston said: “He is a vulnerable person who had a drug debt and was told to take a package on instruction to jail on the condition and part of his debt would be erased.
“She currently has a drug debt of around £200 and payday loans of around £30,000.
“She is an isolated, vulnerable young woman who has suffered many traumas.
“She’s been addicted to class A drugs for 14 to 15 years and as a result, she’s associated with the wrong crowd.
“She lost guardianship of her only child but she is trying to put things back together.”
Heaney was also banned from driving for three years and ordered to undergo a 12-month drug rehabilitation program and 20 days of mandatory rehab activity.
She will have to return to court in April and report to the judge on her progress.