Nicola Austens was given nine months in jail, suspended for a year after she admitted in court to having bought cocaine as a birthday gift for her daughter.
The 37-year-old was arrested on January 31 this year after nearly 6g of cocaine was found at her home in Southborough, near Tunbridge Wells, Kent. She told cops that she had planned to snort the drug with her daughter after hiring a limo to take them on a night out in London as they celebrated the girl’s 18th birthday.
Maidstone Crown Court heard how Austen wanted to make sure she and her daughter would “have a good time” Austen had booked a limousine and planned to take the stash with her to surprise her daughter on her 18th birthday.
Craig Evans, prosecuting, told the court:
- “They were going to London in a limousine and she wanted to make sure they had a good time.”
He said that the drugs, which were hidden in her bedroom, were found by a police sniffer dog on January 31 and that the drugs were found in 12 wraps, weighing a total of 5.65g.
Danny Moore, defending, said Austen – who has six previous convictions, one for possessing amphetamine in 2010 – said it was a “great shame” that she found herself before the court.
- He said: “It is to her great shame she finds herself in court – she appeared to have left this sort of thing behind.”
Recorder Matthew McDonagh said:
- “The basis of your plea was that the drugs were to be consumed by yourself and your daughter and had been purchased to celebrate her birthday on a trip to London. They were to be consumed over the course of the weekend.”
He said that Austen was lucky not to be sent to jail, saying that the charge normally “attracted a sentence of imprisonment of some length. Austen was handed nine months in jail, suspended for a year and ordered to complete 250 hours of unpaid work.
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