Disabled Plymouth woman told she faces jail for drug dealing
A DISABLED woman caught dealing heroin she had stashed inside a Kinder Egg container has been told jail is "almost inevitable".
Deborah Hart, from Lipson, was yesterday found guilty of possessing and supplying the Class A drug by a jury at Plymouth Crown Court.
The 49-year-old, who had denied the charges, will be sentenced next month.
Her defence barrister, Ali Rafati, told the court: "These are extremely serious offences, which are almost always met with long custodial sentences."
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And Judge Graham Cottle told Hart custody was "almost inevitable", as he freed her on bail as "an act of mercy".
The two-day trail heard how Hart was caught by police on November 28 last year with wraps of heroin stashed in a plastic Kinder Egg container.
Officers had pulled over a Nissan Terrano in Raglan Road, in Devonport, at around 9.45am.
Hart was inside with a set of electronic scales – and four wraps of heroin with a purity of 18 per cent, the trial heard.
She told police she was supplying a friend, Martine, on a daily basis, as well as three other clients.
But yesterday Hart's story changed, as she told the jury that she had "lied" in her police interview. Speaking under cross-examination, she claimed the wraps were in fact for herself.
"I was not telling the truth," Hart said. "That's why Martine don't want to know me no more.
"I told a lie and brought her into this."
Hart, who appeared in the dock on crutches, had been given painkillers for her "degenerative" arthritis, the court heard.
She told the trial she had begun using heroin as a supplement "to ease" the pain and to relax; two wraps in the morning and two in the evening.
Hart said she lied to the police because she was "embarrassed" and did not want her family knowing she took the drug.
The court heard that she went to the doctor in December for additional pain relief after the arthritis spread to her knee.
She admitted to the doctor she had been using heroin for up to four months – and was prescribed morphine patches and told not to use the illegal drug again, the court heard.
Hart added that she "didn't know" why she had not visited a doctor earlier.
A jury of four men and eight women returned unanimous verdicts after about two hours of deliberations yesterday. They found Hart, of Ashford Hill, guilty on two counts of supplying heroin and a third of possessing the drug with intent to supply.
Judge Cottle adjourned sentencing until a date to be fixed for a full medical report and pre-sentence report to be compiled.