Mum Nicola O'Neill walks free after stashing £450,000 of cannabis in Rochester home
A mum who stashed cannabis with an estimated street value
of almost £450,000 in her Rochester home has walked free from
A judge told Nicola O'Neill he accepted she was merely the
"custodian" for the sealed boxes and had acted with a degree of
O'Neill, who runs a burger van on Medway City Estate in Strood,
admitted possessing 126kg of herbal cannabis with intent to supply
on June 27 last year.
Maidstone Crown Court heard the drug was found in the garage and
spare room of her semi-detached home in Church Close, Cliffe,
during a raid by police.
Prosecutor Edmund Fowler said the 47-year-old told officers: "I
have been stupid".
She later added in a prepared statement that she had been
looking after the boxes for someone she met a work.
The court was told the cannabis was worth between £330,000 and
Imposing a two-year jail term suspended for two years, Judge
Philip St.John-Stevens told O'Neill her fate would have been "very
different" if she had known the boxes contained cannabis or had
been paid for her involvement.
Having read a number of letters handed in to the court on her
behalf, the judge added that he accepted the mother-of-two had
acted out of character.
"Perhaps the character portrayed in those letters of a caring
person, ever willing to help others, placed against a degree of
naivety led you to where you are today."
Judge St.John-Stevens said he had thought "anxiously" about the
case and taken her vulnerability, genuine remorse and guilty plea
As part of her sentence O'Neill must attend an alcohol treatment
programme for six months, as well as 12 sessions at a women's
She will also be subject to an electronically-tagged curfew for
four months between 9pm and 4am.
Louise Oakley, defending, described O'Neill as "someone easy to
take advantage of" but who had learnt her lesson.
"The threat of the cell door closing behind her has had a
significant impact upon her."
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