A 22-year-old drug addict who supplied the heroin that led to the death of a friend has been freed on the maximum of three years on probation.
Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland told Nadine Thompson while this was “no easy option”, in her case the need for rehabilitation was “more important” than imposing a prison term, however short, just to punish her.
The senior Crown Court judge said it was clear that Thompson, who needed “a lot of support from a lot of agencies” was attempting to deal with her addiction.
She was waiting to join the Belfast Trust-run methadone heroin substitute programme, and jailing her would “interfere” with this.
Thompson, from Seaview Drive in the north of the city, had pleaded guilty to possessing heroin and being concerned in the supply of the class A drug on March 25 2015.
Judge McFarland said that the supply of the drug tragically led to the death of her friend Jackie Brown, from a “cocktail of drugs in her system”.
A post-mortem on Ms Brown said she had “died rapidly” after taking the heroin.
Defence barrister Luke Curran described Thompson as a “very vulnerable young woman” and that “very very tragically a friend died and that is something Ms Thompson has struggled to come to terms with”.