An elderly mother who is seriously ill sobbed in court last week as she saw her 60-year-old drug dealer son being jailed for three years and four months, writes John Hawkins.
At Gloucester Crown Court, Lloyd Nicholas and Carol Paige, 48, both of Smiths Field, Chesterton, Cirencester, were sentenced for their part in the operation after previously pleading guilty to being concerned with the supply of cocaine between November 24, 2018 and January 31, 2019 and being concerned with the supply of cannabis between March 23, 2018 and January 31, 2019.
Prosecutor Christopher Smyth said: “The police were given a tip off that drug dealing was being conducted in the Smiths Field area of Cirencester and attended the address and saw two men and a woman, believed to be drug users, walking away from a property in the cul-de-sac.
“They were stopped and searched and one man had a small quantity of cannabis on him.
“The police entered the house where the transaction had taken place and searched the property. A jar containing 89.5grams of cannabis was discovered. It had a street value of £859. Located nearby were scales and other drug paraphernalia, along with two phones.
“The police also found a quantity of cocaine in a bedroom. The total street value of the drugs found in the property, were between £2,845 and £3,655.
“Nicholas maintained throughout that the drugs were for personal use. With respect to Paige her involvement could be classed as being rather naive as her text messages were not wrapped up in concealed language, in fact it was plain English.”
Judge Mark Horton interjected: “These days you need an encyclopaedia to determine what is actually being described in drugs messages.
“The difficulty in this case is that the amount of drugs would normally be indicative of a small enterprise and not for personal use.
“From my reading of the case Paige only got involved because of the actions of her co-accused.”
Matthew Comer, for Nicholas, said since he was arrested he has reduced his cocaine intake. He had been a heavy user of both cocaine and cannabis.
“If it wasn’t for Nicholas’ drug habit, his partner would not have become involved,” he said.
“Nicholas is a man who has suffered from two strokes and has arthritis. He is also the full time carer for his mother who is in very poor health. She has made it into court today because she feels that this could be her last opportunity to see him.
“Nicholas is also a victim of a serious violent attack which left him with a brain injury which requires daily medication.”
John Stokes, for Paige, said that she accepts that she gained financially from her limited dealing. She also admits there were text messages in plain English dealing mostly in cannabis along with the occasional cocaine transaction.
He added: “Paige was not the driving force of this enterprise; in fact she had a very limited role. She was naive and explains that she enjoyed the social aspect of people coming into her home.”
Judge Horton told both defendants that dealing in Class A drugs was taken exceptionally seriously by the courts.
He added: “Drugs are destroying the lives of users and their families. Few are able to afford their drug habit. The people who drug dealers deal with are likely to steal to pay to fund their addiction. Things brings added misery on their families.
“Drugs cause physical stress to their bodies and is very visible to the eye of the dealer.
“When the police searched your home they found cannabis in two separate areas and cocaine in a third location, valued in excess of £3,000 because of its high purity.”
The judge told Paige: “Your offending has the hallmarks of a lesser role as you were pressurised into getting involved in drug dealing. You were exploited by your partner.
“However, you were naive – as was obvious in the wording of the text messages you sent.”
The judge sentenced Paige to 18 months in prison, suspended for 18 months and ordered her to pay a victim surcharge of £140.
Turning to Nicholas, the judge said: “You have made it clear throughout that your co-accused would not have become involved had it not been for you becoming part of the enterprise.
“You have a bad record and have the ability to handle yourself when it came to debt collection.
“I take into account that you have suffered from strokes which have affected you. Additionally I appreciate that you are the main carer for your mother, who will greatly miss you, I’m sure, as you will be spending the next three years and four months in prison.”
Nicholas’s elderly mother then began visibly sobbing as her son was taken down to the cells.
The judge ordered that Nicholas should pay a victim surcharge of £170 and the forfeiture and destruction of the drugs and relevant drug paraphernalia.