THE girlfriend who helped her gangster boyfriend with a £300,000 a year county lines racket was spared prison after a judge said she was “a caring mum who puts her children first.”
Mum-of-two Vanessa Stansfield, 27, got involved in a crack cocaine and heroin dealing operation after boyfriend Marcel Blake, 26, began ferrying drugs to Kilmarnock, Scotland.
The former nursery nurse was arrested after cops stormed a Glasgow hotel and seized around £5,000 worth of heroin and crack cocaine.
Her DNA was subsequently found on a sock in which the drugs were stored and which was discarded during a chase.
As she was arrested, Stansfield told police she had gone to Scotland because she thought her partner was cheating on her.
She insisted the cars she had hired were not solely for the use of drug dealers and said she had been through a six-year on-off ”roller-coaster relationship” with Blake.
It is clear to me you are a woman of some intelligence and abilities and had employment as a nursery nurse until you had children.
Judge Richard Mansell QC
At Manchester Crown Court, Stansfield who has since been working in Subway, faced jail after being charged with conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine.
But she was given an 18-month community order after a judge deemed that she was “a woman of some intelligence” and a “capable and caring mum” to her children.
Judge Richard Mansell QC said: “It is clear that you became involved on the fringes of this illegal drugs supply operation by reason of your relationship with Blake, the father of your two children aged six and four, with whom you have had a troubled relationship, to say the least since you met him almost ten years ago.
“You were separated from him for a time but had reconciled during this period, albeit only for a few months, and that reconciliation ended with your arrest although you have maintained a civil relationship with him since for the benefit of your children.
You have shown yourself to be a capable and caring mother to your children
Judge Richard Mansell QC
“It is clear to me you are a woman of some intelligence and abilities and had employment as a nursery nurse until you had children. You have shown yourself to be a capable and caring mother to your children.
“There are some issues that have come about as a result of your relationship with Blake but you are clearly crucial to the welfare of the children.
“I am not going to sentence you to imprisonment given your limited involvement in assisting Blake to do what he had agreed to do on a regular basis and lack of previous convictions. This is unlikely to be the start of some sort of criminal career for you and you’ll put your children first. I can tell your deeply ashed and upset at being in court.”
She was given an 18 month community order after prosecutors accepted her guilty plea to the lesser charge of assisting another with the supply of Class A drugs. She was also ordered to complete a Woman’s WiSER counselling programme. Blake is due to be sentenced later.
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The hearing was told the racket was masterminded by Llewellyn Campbell, 25, of Harpurhey, Manchester who used a property in Kilmarnock, Scotland as a safehouse between December 2015 and June 2017.
Prosecutor Henry Blackshaw said: “This was long-distance drug trafficking known as ‘county lines’ dealing which took place between Manchester and Kilmarnock.
“Evidence shows drug supply in this area was controlled by competing Mancunian and Liverpudlian suppliers, with traffickers typically taking a trip up at the beginning of the week and returning at the end. When they were in Scotland they would stay in hotels in Glasgow town centre.”