A FORMER criminology student who was described as “bright” has been jailed for dealing heroin and crack cocaine.
Belinda Ravenscroft, 41, admitted possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply when she appeared before Chester Crown Court yesterday.
Ravenscroft, of Sibell Street, Chester, had been a student at the University of Melbourne in Australia and Keele University, Staffordshire. But she fell into drugs in her final year at Keele and was dealing heroin and crack cocaine from her house to a close-knit group of associates.
Ravenscroft was introduced to Class A drugs by a man she met and dropped out of university just a few weeks before her final exams.
Since then she had been in and out of prison for offences including shoplifting and begging, and ended up homeless before securing accommodation which soon turned into an open house drug den.
Judge Elgan Edwards, the Recorder of Chester, described her descent from bright university student to a drug addict living on the streets as a sad case.
He said: “I am afraid it is one of those cases which should be held up to young people to show that a bright woman can be reduced to being a beggar if introduced to drugs.”
Myles Wilson, prosecuting, said police raided her home and found 52 wraps of crack cocaine and 40 wraps of heroin hidden in a plastic bag inside a cushion hanging from the back of a door.
Ravenscroft was arrested and police seized her mobile phone which contained text messages suggesting she was not only a heavy user but was also dealing.
Mr Wilson said the street value of the drug was about £900 and said she played a significant role in the supply of drugs in Chester.
Kate Morley, defending, said Ravenscroft had only been dealing to get more drugs for herself.
She said: “It may not come as a surprise that she is a heavy drug user of Class A drugs. The evidence shows that she is predominately a drug user not a drug dealer.
“She has never been arrested for drug use before and she has always tried to get clean by herself. She was successful between 2006 and 2010 and went back to university at one point to study zoology.
“She has a 17-year-old daughter who is living with her 72-year-old mother and she wants to get help for her addiction to set a better example.”
Judge Edwards sentenced Ravenscroft to two years in prison. He told her: “You are a bright woman who is now reduced to being before the court.
“It was a black day for you when you were introduced to drugs as a student. I am afraid you must go to prison because you played a significant role in drug dealing.”