Mum used lotto winnings to buy drugs

Woman to be sentenced next week on drugs offences.
Woman to be sentenced next week on drugs offences.

A single mother who won money on the Irish lotto used it to buy drugs, a court has heard.

The woman, who cannot be named because of an anonymity order, was found in possession of £28,000 worth of cannabis after police searched her home.

She pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of cannabis and possession of the class B drug with intent to supply between August and September 2012.

The defendant also admitted possessing a small amount of MDMA and Phenazepam.

Derry Crown Court heard that police acting on intelligence searched the 29-year-old’s home.They found drugs underneath her bed and in a bedside locker.

Police also discovered more drugs, deal bags and digital scales elsewhere in her home.

In total, 1.4 kilograms of herbal cannabis, with a street value of £28,800, was seized.

Two grams of Phenazepam and 13 MDMA tablets were also found.

During police interview, the woman admitted possession of some of the drugs.

She claimed she was a heavy cannabis user and had won £3,500 on the Irish lotto.

The woman said she had used £2,000 of this money to buy drugs and claimed that £460 in cash seized during the search was money left over from the lotto win.

She also admitted that there would be text messages on her phone relating to drugs as she shared drugs with a circle of friends.

The court heard the phone was subsequently analysed and a significant number of messages relating to drugs were discovered on it.

A prosecutor told the court it was the crown case that the woman was selling ‘fairly sizeable quantities of drugs’ and it ‘went beyond selling to friends’.

He said the evidence found on the phone showed she was supplying drugs to people who were, then, selling it on to others.

Defence counsel David Heraghty said his client had had a ‘significant drug habit’ from the age of 16 and was smoking £60 worth of cannabis every day.

He said she was known to be a ‘stoner’ but that, since her arrest, had ‘completely moved away from drug taking and dealing’.

The barrister said she had attended drug counselling and rehabilitation and had returned to education.

He said his client was ‘looking towards a brighter future’ and had ‘genuinely learned her lesson’.

Mr Heraghty said that, if his client was sent to prison, it would have an effect on her child.

However, Judge Philip Babington asked: “Why on earth has she behaved like this? If she cared about her child, she would have never even thought about it.”

He said the case ‘crosses the custody threshold by a mile’.

The judge adjourned the case until Wednesday to allow him to consider his sentence.

The defendant was released on continuing bail.

Judge Babington also granted a destruction order for the seized drugs and ordered that the £460 in cash found in the house be donated to Men’s Action Network.