Carer, 50, dealt drugs while looking after child with Down's Syndrome

Burnley Crown Court.Burnley Crown Court.
Burnley Crown Court.
A carer who was dealing in ecstasy while looking after a child with Down's Syndrome, has been spared jail.

Ex-cleaner Sharon Simes, 50, was taking orders and sending replies for her Lithuanian then-partner’s drugs business and getting a free supply of MDMA for herself for doing it, Burnley Crown Court heard.

One text message to the defendant’s mobile phone, asking about the Class A drugs, was from her own son, which Judge Beverley Lunt said she found “ very disturbing.”

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Mr Mark Stuart (defending) said the defendant, now off drugs, had been a full-time children’s carer for three years. He urged the judge to suspend the sentence for the sake of the two youngsters. Judge Lunt did, although she said it was with reluctance and told the hearing: “She must have had those responsibilities when she was drug dealing. It didn’t stop her getting involved. She didn’t care about these children.”

The hearing was told the defendant had been caught after police stopped an Audi A6 she was driving without lights in Nelson, at 3-20am, last April. Officers could smell drink, but Simes did not want to be breath-tested, climbed out of the police car window and ran off. More than 200 ecstasy tablets were found in the vehicle and the messages were recovered from her mobile phone.

Simes, of Highfield Crescent, Nelson, admitted being concerned in the supply of ecstasy and obstructing police. She received 20 months in prison, suspended for a year.

The court heard the defendant owned up on the basis her involvement in the supply, which was for “a limited period of time,” began after she started a relationship with the Lithuanian man, known to her as Dennis, in March 2015. She said she received and sent messages under his direction. The drugs in the vehicle belonged to him.

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Prosecutor Mr Stephen Parker said 202 ecstasy tablets were found in the Audi but Simes denied knowing about them and said the car was borrowed from a friend. He said Simes had not committed any offences for 15 years.

The number of messages was limited and one was from Simes’ son. He said the defendant took drugs for the first time when she became involved with the Lithuanian man. Mr Stuart said Simes, the mother of several children of her own, had been a full-time carer for three years. “She has taken these responsibilities very seriously for children who otherwise would place a great burden on the state.” He said: “She bitterly regrets ever becoming involved with the man. If she hadn’t, she wouldn’t have committed this offence.”

Sentencing, Judge Lunt told Simes : “You knew full well that you were helping a man carrying out a drug dealing business. There is no reason why you should assist him in that business at all. You are a grown woman. You could have just said no.”

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