A mother caught driving under the influence twice, 16 times the legal limit, was released from court after a judge ruled she needed “help, not punishment”.
Abbie Heaney, 31, was stopped at the wheel of her Vauxhall Astra last year after police suspected her vehicle was being used for drug dealing.
Tests showed she had 800 micrograms of the cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine in her system per liter of blood. The legal limit is only 50 mg.
The police who arrested her also found a packet of crack discarded by a passenger she had been chauffeuring.
Investigations revealed that Heaney, of Bromley Cross in Bolton, Greater Manchester, had provided an identical reading for drug driving the previous year but got away with a £120 fine.
She had also been given a suspended sentence after being caught smuggling drugs into a prison.
At Manchester Crown Court, qualified beauty therapist Heaney faced jail time after admitting drug driving.
However, she has been ordered to complete a two-year community directive after her solicitor said she owes more than £30,000 plus a 15-year cocaine addiction.
Sentencing her, Judge Nicholas Dean QC said: “I would like you to think about the position you are putting yourself in because it is likely that you were helping drug trafficking, you knew what was going on and what the car was being used for Per.
“You won’t be judged for that – but it reflects the lifestyle you’ve been driven into.
“I’m not saying you don’t have a lot of choices and you’ve had a difficult life, but if you don’t pull yourself out of this situation, there will come a point where in the not too distant future you will be arrested for supplying drugs, and go to jail for a long time.”
The judge added: “The world you live in doesn’t give you much opportunity to get out of the hole you’ve found yourself in.
“But you are an intelligent young woman who knows the mess your life is in and I think you need help rather than punishment.
“You’re someone who is able to work, so I suggest that getting a job is best — even if it’s something fairly ordinary and not high-paying, but something that gives you structure and routine in your life.”
Earlier, the court heard how Heaney was pulled over on May 5 last year while driving through the Walkden area of Salford.
Prosecutor Jennifer Devans-Tamakloe said: “A police officer was made aware of the vehicle because it was being briefed before they went on patrol that Secret Service had linked the car to drug supply in the area.
“The car then made a sharp turn in an apparent attempt to avoid police and officers saw the passenger exit the vehicle and walk away.
“The vehicle was followed into the forecourt of a Texaco gas station, where it came to a stop and the suspect in the driver’s seat was arrested.
“Drugs discarded by the passenger were seized and this defendant was arrested because he was concerned about the delivery of class A drugs.
“She referred to using crack cocaine on a daily basis and was drug tested and found positive for cocaine.”
HUGE DRUG DEBT
In September 2020, Heaney was also testing 800mg for cocaine when she was stopped driving her Astra through Bolton.
Last year she was convicted of smuggling class C drugs into Haverigg prison, near Millom, Cumbria, after being “forced” to take the package to inmates.
In mitigation, defense attorney Kevin Liston said: “She is a vulnerable person who had drug debt and was told to bring a package to jail on orders on condition that part of her debt was paid off.
“She currently has a drug debt of around £200 and payday loan debt of around £30,000.
“She is an isolated, vulnerable young woman who has had a lot of trauma.
“She has been addicted to Class A drugs for the last 14 to 15 years and as a result has been associating with the wrong people.
“She lost guardianship of her only child, but she’s trying to put things back together.”
Heaney was also banned from driving for three years and was ordered to complete a 12-month drug rehabilitation program and 20 rehabilitation activity days.
She is due to return to court in April and report back to the judge on her progress.