Drug dealer who sold heroin to feed his own addiction jailed
A man, who breached bail following the death of his father, has been jailed for two and a half years for possession with intent to supply heroin.
Ronald Stephenson was found in possession of 18 tinfoil wraps of heroin and was charged with intent to supply after his home was searched by police in February.
The search also found £300 in cash, a mobile phone and a set of kitchen scales were also found at Stephenson's home in Welfare Close, Easington Colliery.
In police interview, the 44-year-old claimed he had bought the class A drug for his own personal use for £110 and denied supplying it to others.
He also denied the charge when appearing at magistrates' court earlier this year.
The 4.94g of heroin in the 18 wraps was estimated to be worth £210.
Today, Stephenson appeared at Durham Crown Court via video link after being arrested when he failed to attend court in March.
Prosecuting Shaun Dryden said: "The defendant is a low level drug dealer selling drugs to feed his own habit."
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He has 13 previous convictions for 26 offences with his last conviction dates as 2008.
Mitigating, Jane Waugh said: "The reason he failed to attend court, although he accepts he should have been in court, is he was under severe emotional pressure.
"He is grateful he was with his father when he passed away."
Adding: "He was selling to feed his own habit only selling to people he knew were also addicted to that substance."
Sentencing him to 30 months in jail, Mr Recorder Ian Harris said: "It's a shame you didn't have the courage to admit your offence at interview or at lower court.
"I'm aware of the tragedy that struck your family recently with the death of your father.
"It doesn't explain why you breached your bail but it certainly underpins your flawed thinking at the time."