THREE people – including a Carlisle mum-of three – have been jailed for a total of almost 15 years for cocaine trafficking crimes.
The city’s crown court heard how two of the trio, Stephen Lee Irwin, 32, and 25-year-old Natasha Graham, were also involved in a dangerous high speed police pursuit, him as the driver of a Saab through rush hour traffic, and her as a passenger along with her five-year-old child.
Prosecutor Gerard Rogerson told how, on February 1, the Saab sped away from police who hit 73mph on residential Longlands Road in northern Carlisle, and then a top speed of 87mph once outside the city before calling off the chase when it became too dangerous to continue. Oncoming evening rush hour traffic – including a cyclist who fell to the ground – took evasive action as Irwin flouted road rules and drove the wrong way around a main roundabout before crashing into a field. He and Graham, who was injured, fled.
The pair then laid low at a Carlisle hotel for several days, where a “steady stream of drug customers” visited a room in which police later found the pair along with cocaine potentially worth almost £5,000 and cash.
By that time, Graham was on bail having driven another crook, 21-year-old Steven Kidd, to Carlisle’s Collier Lane on December 29 when police stopped him and found nine bags of crack cocaine in his underwear.
A mobile phone contained texts – one, said Mr Rogerson, from a contact “illustratively named Smackhead” – which hinted at days of drug-dealing; a search of Graham and Kidd’s Toronto Street home in Currock revealed snap-bags and weighing scales, along with £1,000 cash.
Graham – said to have played a secondary role in the trafficking – admitted two counts of possessing cocaine with intent to supply. Kidd and Irwin also admitted that charge to reflect their respective roles. Kidd also admitted supplying cocaine during December, and Irwin further admitted dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and no insurance.
Irwin, c/o Eskdale Avenue, Carlisle, who had committed his third class A drug trafficking crime, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years, and will serve a two-year driving ban when released. Graham was jailed for three years nine months, and Kidd and three-and-a-half years.
Of the dangerous driving, Judge Peter Davies told Irwin: “It was a momentous danger you were risking. God knows how catastrophe was averted – no thanks to you, Mr Irwin.”