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Probation for woman who 'bought drugs for her MS'

By Nevin Farrell

A woman claimed she used her DLA money to buy 900 Diazepam-type tablets for £330 because her prescription medication was not enough for her to cope with the effects of MS.

Police swooped on the home of Stacey Leigh Watton on February 3 this year and found 760 Bensedin tablets, a prosecutor told Coleraine Magistrates Court yesterday.

Watton (29), of York Avenue, Portstewart, previously admitted possessing the Class C drugs. A charge of having the tablets with intent to supply was withdrawn.

A prosecutor said Watton told police she suffered from MS and was on prescription medication but it was "not enough". She said she paid £330 for 900 tablets from "a certain person".

The prosecutor said 760 tablets were found in Watton's home, and that the defendant said they helped her sleep and would have lasted for three months.

Defence solicitor John Murphy said his client was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2014 and had become addicted to prescription drugs, but was weaned off them and had spent her DLA money on the Bensedin.

He said his client, who had a previous record, has been offered a university place if she passes exams.

District Judge Peter King put her on probation for a year, and said it was clear the intent to supply charge was withdrawn because of her medical condition.

However, he said the incident put her in breach of a suspended sentence involving a drugs matter which was previously before Craigavon Crown Court, and he said he would refer the case back there. Last year, at Craigavon Court, Watton admitted trying to smuggle drugs into Maghaberry Prison. She pleaded guilty to possessing both cannabis and buprenorphine with intent to supply.

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