A MAN went “out of control” after turning to hard drugs to help him cope with the loss of his grandparents, a court heard.
Daniel Anthony Martin was “absolutely devastated” when both grandparents died within a short period, solicitor Joanne Gatens told Sunderland Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
Martin, 26, admitted possession of cannabis and cocaine when he appeared yesterday.
John McGlone, prosecuting, told the court Martin’s car had been pulled over in September.
When police told him the vehicle would be searched, he admitted there was a “spliff” containing a cannabis bush in the driver’s door pocket and a cannabis grinder on the back seat.
A subsequent search of Martin’s home in Owen Drive, West Boldon, found a “white, crumbly substance”, which tests confirmed was 41.6g of cocaine, at the back of a bedroom wardrobe.
Mrs Gatens told the court Martin had moved into his grandparents’ home after their deaths, but being surrounded by constant reminders of them had made it more difficult to move on.
He had been recommended to try cocaine and found it alleviated his grief “for a short period. “He was soon using it to extreme excess,” said Mrs Gatens.
“He accepts he was out of control, off the rails, to use all those phrases.”
He had bought such a large amount of cocaine because it was cheaper to do so, but had soon realised it was the wrong way to cope with his grief.
“The one thing his grandmother always said to him was to steer clear of drugs, so it was counter-productive to continue to use the cocaine.
“He put it in a bag at the back of the wardrobe and while he accepts that, obviously, he knew it was there, he had not thought about it for some time.
“At the time the police found it, he had stopped using it entirely. That is why it was at the back of the wardrobe.”
Martin had now found work and was getting his life back on track.
Mrs Gatens urged magistrates not to do anything to derail his efforts.
“This young man has lots of positive aspects of his life,” she said. “He has some issues he has dealt with and others he needs to deal with.”
Magistrates jailed Martin for 16 weeks, suspended for a year, and ordered him to carry out 150 hours unpaid work.