View attachment 52773 An undergraduate who helped her younger brother run a student drug dealing ring has been spared jail after pleading a prison term would "blight" her future career.
Privately-educated Poppy Murray, 22, acted as a go-between for teenage sibling Joel, 19, who dealt "recreational" narcotics to Manchester's party set. In one text exchange, Joel - who had harboured ambitions to join the Army - arranged for cocaine to be delivered to an event Poppy was attending after he texted her to ask, "who wants sniff."
He also sent a group text message to 16 friends saying he had a high purity haul of the drug adding: "Yo its Joel - some killer raw there yo." Police arrested the pair after a raid on their suburban family semi-detached home in Middleton, Greater Manchester following a tip-off. Amphetamines were found stuffed in a freezer and the siblings' mobile phones were examined, with one showing evidence of a £750 cocaine deal.
At Minshull Street Crown Court, Joel and Poppy pleaded to supplying cocaine. But although he was locked away for seven years, his older sister, who initially claimed she did not see "anything morally wrong" with supplying "recreational" drugs to friends, got 12 months' jail, suspended for 18 months. She was also ordered to complete 80 hours of unpaid work.
During a plea for clemency, Murray, who is running a catering business as well as studying an events management degree at Manchester Metropolitan University, said the arrest had led her to suffer from eczema and anxiety. Defence lawyer Richard English said: "Using recreational drugs as students is not exceptional - in fact it is unexceptional. Miss Murray did not see anything morally wrong with what she did. However, she now accepts plainly that it was wrong.
"The money was pooled and the drugs were shared. A prison sentence would be a punishment but it would do nothing but blight a very bright career. She is a very clever, ambitious and driven young lady." He added: "She is suffering from anxiety and she has eczema which is due to this case. She had to leave a college course at Leeds University because she was too worried to leave her house. To her credit she has continued her university course at Manchester Metropolitan University and is expected to receive a good degree in event management.
"She works at a city centre hotel and I am told that she is very good at what she does. She is a very clever, ambitious and driven young lady. She has also recently set up her own business with her friend. They cook 200 meals a week and deliver them. I am told that even though it is just in the early stages they are already making money."
According her Facebook page Poppy - who attended the £10,000 a year St Bedes Roman Catholic College, in Manchester - works with the events team at the four-star Midland Hotel in Manchester city centre. Pictures on her social media show her drinking champagne on a balcony at a city centre apartment and partying with friends at music festivals. Joel's Facebook page shows him on a snowboarding holiday and drinking cocktails in an exclusive restaurant.
The court heard the drugs raid occurred on August 27 2014 after police suspected another family member was supplying amphetamines. Tim Brennand said: "Amphetamines were seized from a freezer in the outhouse and Joel Murray's attic bedroom was also searched. A black Nokia mobile phone was found and examined and text messages were found that were suggestive of the purchase and supply of illegal drugs. Poppy's iPhone 5 was also seized.
"Between the 22 and 26th of August, just the day before the search, text messages were sent regarding purchasing a large quantity of cocaine and offering it for sale. Another message was seen to be purchasing Benzphetamine, which can be used in the preparation and the cutting of cocaine.
"This significantly demonstrates the level of organisation and significant inference on Joel to use it. On the 22nd of August there was a text detailing the purchase of half an ounce of cocaine costing £750. Nine minutes later texts were sent to 16 different people to sell quantities of high purity cocaine.
"The texts read that there was 'raw' drugs for sale. Poppy said: 'do you want me to ask' and this introduced the supply of drugs to a party. It was decided how much Poppy wanted and a delivery was made to where Poppy was. There were texts also disputing how much money had been paid. Police also found a set of electronic scales in Joel's bedroom alongside a notepad which at the top had a list called "snowers". There was also a list of drug buyers for cocaine and cannabis called "what we sniff."
Neither the brother nor the sister gave comment in interviews to police.
Joel also pleaded guilty to possessing 2,030 MDMA tablets worth £6,090 and 606g of cannabis worth £8,480 after the drugs were found hidden in a bucket inside his wardrobe during a different police search. His lawyer Henry Blackshaw said: "The strongest mitigation for him is his age and his lack of maturity. The gravity of the offending perhaps did not give the correct connotations to him. Recreational use of of cocaine with young people is very prevalent in society now which could reduce the gravity of the situation.
"He could also have been excited by the illicit use of cocaine. Through me he displays a significant degree of guilt including the situation his sister finds herself in. He is very conscious of her being here in court no small part is due to him."
Passing sentence the judge Mr Recorder Eric Lamb told Poppy: "I have been persuaded that you were pooling resources together to pay for the drugs. It was a foolish decision which you have clearly thought better of since."
The Telegraph/Oct. 13, 2016
Photos: Cavendish Press
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