A 19-YEAR-OLD who told police “I can’t come to the station because I’m busy in Oxford dealing drugs” has avoided a prison sentence.
Kieran Webb, of Austin Place, Abingdon, made the admission after his worried mother contacted Thames Valley Police and officers called him on his mobile on June 30 this year.
But sentencing Webb this week Judge Ian Pringle said it was clear the teenager was asking police to “rescue” him from a job he had been forced to do.
Jonathan Stone, prosecuting in Oxford Crown Court, said the teenager was then arrested carrying wraps of heroin and crack cocaine worth about £170.
Mr Stone said the defendant had also been arrested carrying heroin to sell in Friar’s Wharf, Oxford, on June 6 this year.
He added that Webb, who admitted possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply, has no previous convictions.
Defence barrister Philippa Eastwood said her client had been a bright student, achieving As in his GCSEs, but started using cannabis heavily after leaving school.
She said he ran up a debt with a drug dealer and was forced to act as a courier, but was robbed on his way across Oxford and was left owing a further £6,000.
Miss Eastwood said: “He was operating on the instructions of someone much more significant in the drugs supply chain.
“He was told either him or his family would be kidnapped if he did not comply.
“And given the reputation of the person making these threats he believed it was true.”
She added that the police officer in charge of the investigation had also expressed concerns for Webb’s safety.
Judge Pringle said the case was “exceptional” because of the defendant’s age and lack of previous convictions, but also because he was only acting out of fear. He told him: “You admitted your crimes fully and pleaded to the police almost to come and rescue you from the job which you were made to perform.”
Judge Pringle sentenced Webb to two years in prison, suspended for two years, with 180 hours of unpaid work, a three-month curfew and a four-month exclusion order banning him from Oxford. He will also gave to pay a £100 victims’ surcharge.
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