42-year-old woman who resorted to escort work to fund drug habit avoids prison after dealing ketamine

A 42-year-old woman who was dealing ketamine to a “small group” of people and had £3,000 worth of the drug in her car has avoided going to prison.

Manuela Lucas, of Raby Avenue in North Lynn, appeared at the town’s magistrates court on Thursday to be sentenced.

She had previously pleaded guilty to having the intention to supply the Class B drug as well as having it in her home address.

Lucas had 99.6g of ketamine in her car. Picture: iStock
Lucas had 99.6g of ketamine in her car. Picture: iStock

Prosecutor Lesla Small said that on September 4, 2022, police did a routine stop on Lucas’ vehicle and she told officers that she had taken ketamine two days before.

A drug search was carried out and 99.6g of the drug was found in a sweet tin in the central console of the car.

It is thought that the amount of drugs found held the street value of £3,000.

A search was also carried out at Lucas’ home address, with another 1.06g of ketamine found in a bedroom drawer.

Further investigations led to drug paraphernalia being found on the property, including small snap-seal bags and weighing scales.

Messages were also found on a mobile phone which suggested Lucas’ involvement in supplying drugs.

The court was told that Lucas had one previous conviction to her name for drug-driving.

In mitigation, Charlotte Winchester explained that Lucas had moved to the UK in 2009 and said that she used drugs after getting out an “extremely abusive” relationship.

Ms Winchester said: “She had never used drugs before, but started mixing with the wrong people.

“At her worst, she was spending £140 on ketamine a day and got herself in £20,000 worth of debt.”

The solicitor added: “She resorted to escort work to afford it and started to supply ketamine to a small group of people.”

Ms Winchester said that Lucas had been struggling with mental health conditions and had reduced her ketamine intake.

“She is very remorseful for what has happened,” she said.

The solicitor urged magistrates to suspend a sentence if they were going to impose one, as Lucas has teenage children and would lose her accommodation if she went to prison.

The bench decided to take Ms Winchester’s advice and gave her two 18-week sentences which would run consecutively, suspended for 18 months.

She was also given a 12-month drug requirement course along with 20 rehabilitation activity days and 200 hours’ worth of unpaid work.

She will also pay a victim surcharge of £187 and court costs of £145.