Drugs mule spared prison after being caught with heroin worth £200k
A drugs mule has been spared prison after she was caught with heroin with a street value of £200,000.
Perri Phillips-Ede, 30, of Freehold Terrace, Brighton, was caught with 2kg of heroin in Coldean Lane, Brighton, on Monday 28 February.
At Hove Crown Court on Monday (1 August) she was given a two-year prison sentence suspended for two years.
The judge, Mrs Recorder Alice Sims, ordered Phillips-Ede to attend 30 rehab sessions and carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.
Mrs Recorder Sims said that she was guided by the Ministry of Justice “Female Offender Strategy” with its “emphasis on community-based solutions” and strong personal mitigation.
Richard Cherrill, prosecuting, said that the heroin – in 20 uniform blocks – had a purity of 53 per cent and would have provided enough drugs for 20,000 street deals.
He said that Phillips-Ede gave no account of why she had the heroin when she was interviewed by police and would not give the PIN (personal identification number) for two phones found in her car and at her home.
She said that one of the phones, which had been found in a search of her home by police, belonged to her daughter – and in court she was told that this phone would be returned.
Mr Cherrill said that Phillips-Ede had a “significant” role in the drug dealing operation that had been disrupted by her arrest.
She had been entrusted with heroin worth £200,000 and had £300 cash on her when she was stopped by the police.
He said that the sentence for an offence of this sort had a starting point of eight years in prison and could range from six and a half years to ten years.
He added: “We don’t accept the proposition that she had been set up and that she didn’t know (she was transporting) drugs – or the quantity.
“She will have known rather more than has been revealed.”
Philip Meredith, defending, said that Phillips-Ede was previously of good character and that her role had been a “lesser” rather than “significant” role.
He said: “It indicates that she was a drugs mule”
He said that it was understandable that she would not reveal the PIN for her mobile phone “because she fears the consequences”.
She was a single mother, Mr Meredith said, and a pre-sentence report touched on “the financial and emotional pressure that she was under”.
Mr Meredith said that she was remorseful, that she understood “the impact on the community of these filthy drugs” and “she was co-operative with the police”.
She was no harm to anyone else, he said, and could work if she was not sent to prison.
Mrs Recorder Sims said: “The concerning thing from my perspective is that a mobile phone was seized from her car and her house and she has refused to give the police the PIN (because it) could put her family in danger (and) she gave a ‘no comment’ interview.”
She was given credit, in sentencing terms, for pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity – the equivalent of a third off the length of any custodial sentence.
But “the severity of the offence”, with the supply of drugs “perpetuating individual addictions … affects the community”.
The judge said: “At the time when she committed this offence, she was struggling financially.
“She had a difficult childhood when she was exposed to her father’s heroin abuse.
“The defendant has shown high levels of remorse (and) poses a low risk of reoffending.”
In addition to the Ministry of Justice “Female Offender Strategy”, with its “emphasis on community-based solutions”, the judge said that Phillips-Ede had already spent five months in custody since her arrest.
She accepted that Phillips-Ede had played a “lesser” role but added: “This offence is so serious that only a custodial sentence can be justified.”
She said: “I am going outside the sentencing guidelines because of the impact a long sentence would have on her daughter.”
There was, the judge said, “a realistic prospect of rehabilitation, a low risk of reoffending and strong personal mitigation”.
As well as the two-year suspended sentence, 200 hours of unpaid work and 30 rehab sessions, the judge ordered the £300 cash and one of the mobile phones to be forfeited.
The judge also ordered that the heroin be forfeited and destroyed.
LIKE WHAT WE DO? HELP US TO DO MORE OF IT BY DONATING HERE.
And don't forget to sign up to our email newsletter, bringing you the week's biggest stories every Thursday.