A MOBILE hairdresser caught transporting cocaine and heroin into Kendal to pay off a drugs debt has wept after being spared prison by a judge who described her case as “wholly exceptional”.
Carlisle Crown Court heard of Holly Elizabeth Woods’ “downward spiral” and how she “lost her moral compass”, bingeing on alcohol and taking cocaine amid other personal problems.
And, after falling into financial arrears with a dealer, desperate Woods – the 32-year-old mother of a young daughter – made a number of drug runs to South Cumbria to expunge her debt.
Police stopped her Ford Fiesta heading into Kendal on the A591 at around 3-15pm on December 27 last year. When tackled, she immediately confessed “they’re in the back”, officers finding a bag on a child’s seat. This contained a golf ball sized wrap of heroin and cocaine worth around £520 in the form it was discovered. However, the value could have been boosted more than five-fold if the substances were further broken down for street sale, the court was told.
Woods admitted possessing both class A drugs with intent to supply, confessed to making two previous criminal trips and could have faced a lengthy term behind bars.
But after hearing the mobile hairdresser was remorseful, had turned her life around and was the primary carer for her daughter, Judge Nicholas Barker suspended a two-year jail term for 24 months. He also imposed 180 hours’ unpaid work and a six-month night time curfew.
Judge Barker described Woods, of Grange Lane, Gateacre, Liverpool, as a “classic courier clearing her debt and being directed to do this by unscrupulous and manipulative others”.
“It is a menace to this county that drugs are trafficked from large city centres such as Liverpool where you come from,” the judge told her. “It causes misery to those who become addicted to these drugs. A cycle of offending follows; domestic violence; abuse; theft; and further drugs offending. You are part of that system. You are part of that chain.”
But he concluded: “I consider this to be a wholly exceptional case because, in my judgement, the movement of drugs into this county almost always results in an immediate custodial sentence.”