Belfast Telegraph

Woman who hid drugs in bra urged by judge to ditch dodgy friends

Fined: Sarah McArdle
Fined: Sarah McArdle

By Donal McMahon

A woman has been left to "paddle her own canoe" after being used by a major criminal to hide drugs in her bra.

Sarah McArdle (23) of Millrace Close in Forkhill pleaded guilty to possession of class B and C drugs in relation to an incident on July 28 last year.

Charges of intent to supply were withdrawn after 11th-hour consultations ahead of a listed contest date in Newry Magistrates Court yesterday.

The court heard the PSNI stopped a vehicle with a male driver and McArdle in the passenger seat. The man was said in court to have more than 100 criminal convictions.

A strong smell of cannabis was detected coming from the vehicle and a search was carried out.

McArdle was found to have cannabis in her pocket and handbag. Ten tablets found secreted in her bra and trousers were said to be the drug etizolam.

When arrested, she claimed the man owned the drugs.

During police interview she accepted some of the cannabis charges but said the co-accused had put the drugs in the bag and that they belonged to him.

A barrister for McArdle said she had been threatened and identified as a "tout" since the arrest. He also asked for leniency for his client, who had lost two friends to suicide, with another overdosing in recent times.

"She is clearly guilty of possession, even if the drugs were not hers. She is currently seeking psychiatric help," he added.

District Judge Eamonn King alluded to the "bad company" kept by the accused.

"We are told you are a vulnerable person," said Mr King. "If you keep bad company, you will get into trouble.

"You need to disassociate yourself from your colleague. If not, it will end in tears.

"It is indicative that you are in the dock today and not him. I will allow you the opportunity to paddle your own canoe."

McArdle was fined £100 on each offence and a destruction order was put in place for the drugs.

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