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Man had abused drugs since age of SIX, court hears

Judge shows mercy after being told: '“It would be unrealistic to think...his taking drugs is going to suddenly stop'

John Garvey

john.garvey@newburynews.co.uk

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Court

A LOCAL addict has been abusing drugs since the age of six, a court heard.

The astonishing story unfolded as Alexander Blackadder, of Bronte Rise, Greenham, was being sentenced for his 43rd offence at Reading Crown Court.

His barrister said it was unrealistic to expect Blackadder, now aged 46, to simply stop taking illicit substances, when he had been using them since he was such a young boy.

Edward Culver, prosecuting on Wednesday, February 7, said police raided a Newbury hostel where Blackadder had been staying and found drugs, including cocaine and cannabis, plus a set of scales.

Blackadder admitted possessing the drugs, of both Class A and Class B, on May 12 last year.

But that admission meant he was in breach of a suspended prison sentence imposed for a previous offence of possessing drugs with intent to supply, after police found £910 worth of crack cocaine concealed inside a Kinder Surprise chocolate egg.

Nicholas Cotter, defending, said his client was “no stranger to the criminal justice system”, and had a long history of offending.

He said Blackadder now had a new home and a young baby to bring up and added: “However, he makes no bones about the fact that drugs still feature in his life.

“It would be unrealistic to think, after 40 years, his taking drugs is going to suddenly stop.

“But while prison is quite a proper disposal available to Your Honour today, it won’t address the issues the defendant has.”

Mr Cotter then handed the judge a letter his client had written to the court.

Deputy District Judge Stewart told Blackadder: “You have been taking drugs since you were a boy, but you now have a young child to consider and care for.

“ I note you have been consulting rehabilitation facilities.

“You’re a long-standing user of drugs who will be committing the offence of possession every day of your life until you get off them completely.”

The judge concluded that, because the suspended sentence was imposed for far more serious offences than the current possession charges, “it would be unjust to implement it, in whole or in part”.

Instead, he sentenced Blackadder to a further six weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, with a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

In addition, he fined him £20 and imposed an eight-week curfew between 10pm and 6am, to be enforced by an electronic tag.

Finally, Blackadder was ordered to pay a statutory victim services surcharge.

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