AN addict who traded sex for heroin so she could receive free drugs before she started delivering drugs to other users has avoided jail.
Victoria Kellaway, 32, admitted being concerned in the supply of heroin after her fingerprints were found by police inside the Swansea apartment of convicted drug dealer Peter Evans.
The judge sentencing her said she was "as much of a victim of drug dealing as an offender" as he gave her a suspended sentence during a hearing at Swansea Crown Court.
Drug dealer Evans, from Gendros, was jailed last October for five-and-a-half years after he was found to be a "significant player" on the Swansea drug scene.
He had been using a rented flat in the Copper Quarter to conduct his drug deals.
After his arrest, he had originally told police the flat had belonged to his son, who had died of an overdose months before.
Officers found heroin inside a coffee tin in the flat worth an estimated £10,225. Later investigations also revealed fingerprints belonging to Kellaway on the tin and on the bags of drugs inside.
They also found regular texts between Kellaway, of Arennig Road, Penlan, and Evans on their respective mobile phones.
When officers searched her home, they found money bags hidden in her underwear drawer, clothes basket and bedside cabinet.
She pleaded guilty to the charge on a basis of the facts, in that she admitted being involved in dealing drugs with Evans and she had sex with him in exchange for heroin.
Prosecuting barrister Ben Blakemore read from her the basis of plea which said she was supplied with heroin by Evans in exchange for sex "a few times a week".
That arrangement continued for a number of weeks, Mr Blakemore said, before she turned to being his runner and delivering drugs for Evans. She delivered drugs for 14 days until his arrest in April 2012, her basis said.
She told police that for every three bags she delivered, she was allowed to keep the fourth for herself, the court heard.
Kellaway would then return the takings to Evans every day.
She admitted being involved in the offence during her police interview in August last year.
Ian Wright, for Kellaway, said his client had made positive steps since she was arrested. He said she had tried to engage with drug agencies privately, before she became involved in criminal proceedings, but had not been able to receive any help for her addiction.
"This wasn't simply a self- serving reaction to being arrested," said Mr Wright.
"She was on a waiting list for eight months prior to her arrest, trying to arrange the assistance of the drugs agencies, but because of the limited resources, she wasn't able to access any of those," he added.
He said it was an exceptional case and asked the judge not to jail her but to impose a suspended sentence instead.
"The basis of plea outlines the depth to which she had sunk because of her abuse of heroin.
"She is now clean and is hopeful she can remain so," added Mr Wright.
Sentencing her, Judge Paul Thomas said: "Those who are involved in supplying Class A drugs, particularly heroin, can almost always expect a lengthy prison sentence.
"These courts are determined that those who deal in drugs are taken off the streets so they cannot do any more harm. Your case however is very much out of the ordinary."
He said: "In many ways, you are as much of a victim of drug dealing as an offender."
The judge added: "You were in my view exploited by a determined drug dealer, Peter Evans, for his own purposes. You were a hopeless addict in your own right with a desperate need for that drug."
Before handing her a suspended sentence, he said: "This is one of those very rare occasions where it's in the best interest of society that an immediate lengthy sentence of imprisonment is not called for."
Judge Thomas gave her a 16-month sentence, suspended for two years. She was told to complete 150 hours of unpaid work and given a two-year supervision order.
"I have confidence in this case you will conform with all these requirements and will not return to heroin and will put your life back on a proper footing," added the judge.