A qualified beauty therapist who was twice caught drug driving at 16 times the legal limit has walked free from court after a judge ruled she needed ”help rather than punishment.”
Mum-of-one Abbie Heaney, 31, was stopped at the wheel of her Vauxhall Astra after police suspected the vehicle was being used for drug dealing.
Tests showed she had 800 micrograms of the cocaine metabolite Benzoylecgonine per liter of blood in her system.
The legal limit is just 50mg.
Police also recovered a package of crack cocaine, which had been dumped by a passenger she had been chauffeuring.
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Manchester Crown Court heard that Heaney, from Bolton, provided an identical drug driving reading the previous year but escaped with a £120 fine.
She had also been given a suspended jail sentence after being caught smuggling drugs into a prison.
Heaney was spared jail by a judge yesterday (Monday, February 7) after admitting drug driving.
She was instead handed a two-year community order after her lawyer said she had debts of more than £30,000 plus a cocaine habit dating back 15 years.
Sentencing her, Judge Nicholas Dean QC said: ”I want you to think about the position you are putting yourself in because it seems likely that you were assisting in the dealing of drugs, you knew what was going on and what the car was being used for.
”You’re not being sentenced for that – but it is reflective of the lifestyle you have been driven to.
“I don’t say you have much by way of choices and you have had a difficult life but unless you dig yourself out that situation the point is going to come when in the not too distant future you will be arrested for supplying drugs and go to prison for a long time.”
The judge added: ”The world you live in doesn’t give you much in the way of opportunity to get out of the hole you have been in. But your are an intelligent young woman who knows the mess your life is in and I think you need help rather than punishment.
”You are someone who is capable of working so I suggest getting a job will be the best thing you can do – even if it is something fairly ordinary and not high paying but something which gives you structure and routine in your life.”
The court heard how Heaney, of Hough Lane, Bromley Cross, had been stopped on May 5 of last year while driving though Walkden, in Salford.
Prosecutor Miss Jennifer Devans-Tamakloe said: ”The vehicle was drawn to the attention of a police officers as it was subject to a briefing prior to them going out patrol saying intelligence had linked the car to drug supply in the area.
”The car then made a sharp turn in an apparent attempt to evade the police and officers saw the the front seat passenger alight from the vehicle and make off on foot.
”The vehicle was followed onto the forecourt of a Texaco services station where it came to a halt and the defendant was detained whilst in the drivers seat.
“Drugs which the passenger had discarded were recovered and this defendant was arrested for being concerned in the supply of class A drugs.
”She made reference to her being a daily crack cocaine user and a drug test was conducted which showed positive for cocaine.”
In September 2020, Heaney also tested 800mg for cocaine when she was stopped driving her Astra through Bolton.
In 2019, she was convicted of smuggling Class C drugs into Haverigg jail in Cumbria after being ”coerced” to take the package to inmates.
In mitigation, defense lawyer Kevin Liston said: ”She is a vulnerable individual who had a drug debt and was told to take a package on instruction into prison on the condition and some of her debt would be wiped clean.
”She currently has a drug debt of around £200 and payday loans debts of around £30,000.
“She is an isolated vulnerable young female who has had numerous traumas. She’s been addicted to Class A drugs for the last 14 – 15 years and as a result has associated with the wrong crowd.
“She has lost guardianship of her only child but she is trying to piece things back together.”
Heaney, who was also banned from driving for three years, was ordered to complete a 12-month drug rehabilitation program and 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days.
She will have to return to the court in April to report back to the judge on her progress.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.