Best friend jailed for drug death
A drug addict has been jailed for the manslaughter of her best friend who begged her to inject her with heroin.
Angela Broughton, 32, had denied injecting fellow user Julie Richardson, 41, but was convicted by a jury and sentenced to four years, three months.
Her barrister said Broughton's time in custody already had "saved her life".
Mr Justice Lloyd-Jones told Broughton at Swansea Crown Court: "No doubt you thought you were doing her a favour, such is the terrible power of heroin."
Ms Richardson's body was found on steps near a karate club in Swansea city centre.
The trial had heard she had used her benefit cheque to buy heroin on the morning of 29 May last year.
Ms Richardson pleaded with her friend to inject her as she was incapable due to shakes.
It is an irony that the defendant...expresses her gratitude that she has gone into custody. Going into custody saved her life
Elwen Evans QC
After injecting Ms Richardson and another addict, Broughton left the scene at Bethesda Street and later injected herself.
She was before Swansea Crown Court for sentence.
In mitigation Elwen Evans QC said: "It's not a supply case, not someone who had bought the drug and supplied it.
"She [Ms Richardson] had a clear history of begging others to inject her."
Ms Evans said Broughton had spent over 200 days in jail on remand and during that time undergone drug rehabilitation.
"It is an irony that the defendant, denying the act, expresses her gratitude that she has gone into custody. Going into custody saved her life."
Ms Richardson had a long history of drink and drug abuse, the court heard
In a statement handed into the court Ms Richardson's mother said: "I'm aware that her actual death was not intentional and the roles could easily have been reversed."
Sentencing Broughton, Mr Lloyd-Jones said: "It has been said many times before - anyone who injects heroin is dabbling with death.
"The taking of a life in this way has to be marked by a custodial sentence."
Speaking after sentencing Det Chief Insp Dale Ponting of South Wales Police said: "Our thoughts remain with Julie's family, and hopefully today's hearing will help them put some closure on this tragic chapter in their lives.
"We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the local people for the co-operation and support they have provided to the investigation team.
"Death by the use of controlled drugs is becoming more prevalent and there is legislation in place which enables the police and other agencies to take robust action
"The supplying of controlled drugs, whether it be by injection from one to another, or the selling of drugs is illegal.
"This has been reflected in the sad case of Julie and the courts recognise the gravity of these cases as indicated by today's sentence."
10:51 GMT, Friday, 5 June 2009 11:51 UK
Absolutely disgusting...it mentions she had saved her life before. She did not force her to take it, the other person asked her.
Not only do heroin users need to worry about money, scoring, HIV, hepatitus, risk for being ripped off, cuts in the drugs, losing friends, jobs and families, now if they help each other, thats criminal too? What would the honest ddifference be if she died injecting the same dose herself??
Manslaughter is a serious conviction :thumbsdown:
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