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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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Man turned to drink and drugs after family deaths, Carlisle court told

A man who turned to drink and drugs after suffering three bereavements in a year has been spared jail.

A judge at Carlisle Crown Court said it would be of no benefit to the community if Daniel Messenger, 34, was locked up.

Instead he was given a two-year jail sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 180 hours unpaid community work.

The court heard that Messenger was arrested after police who raided his home in Tithebarn Street, Keswick, on December 6 found 18 wraps of cocaine – worth about £370 – and a small amount of cannabis.

He confessed that he would have sold some of the cocaine to raise money to buy the drugs he used himself.

Messenger pleaded guilty to possessing the class A drug with intent to supply it, and possessing the cannabis – a class B drug – for his own use.

Defence barrister Mark Shepherd said Messenger had been through a long period of “emotional pain” following the deaths of his relatives.

He had turned to vodka, drinking at least a bottle a night, to ease the pain.

And then he started taking high purity cocaine to overcome the effects of the alcohol.

“He is someone who was in the grip of addiction,” Mr Shepherd said.

Passing sentence, Judge Barbara Forrester said Messenger – a family man who had worked for the same firm for 16 years and had already sought help for his drug addiction – was not “the typical sort of person who appears in court for drugs offences”.

She told him: “I think possibly you were fortunate that the police raided you before the situation got any worse.”

The judge said drug dealers in such circumstances normally got sent to jail, with sentences of up to seven years.

But she said: “If I were to follow the guidelines it would mean you would go immediately into custody today. I see no benefit to the community or to you in that happening.”

She warned him though that if he committed any more such offences he would go to jail. He was also put under a curfew to keep him indoors at home every night from 8pm to 6am and made to pay a £100 statutory surcharge.

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