A council cleaner has been jailed for three years for turning to drug-dealing to help keep her addict son supplied with heroin.
Yvonne McConnell, 50, was back in court for sentencing today, August 21, after being found guilty by a jury at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last month of being concerned in the supply of the class-A drug over a two-year period ending on June 20 last year.
Douglas Arthur, 70, her co-accused and stepfather, was also convicted and sentenced to three years’ jail at the end of the trial after being recalled by the Parole Board, having been out on licence for murder.
Arthur had been given a life sentence at the High Court in Jedburgh in June 1972 after admitting strangling a female friend to death in Magdala Terrace, Galashiels, in April of that year after a night out.
Sentencing McConnell, also known as Noble, this week sheriff Frank Crowe said it was clear that she had been dealing drugs seven days a week, sometimes at all hours of the day, from her home in Glendinning Terrace, Galashiels.
Drugs had also been found in Arthur’s home in the same street, he noted.
“What was significant about this case was that seven of your neighbours gave evidence describing the brief time callers stayed at your house when visiting or the brief exchanges you had with them in your garden where you sat at a bench in the open,” he told her.
“At various times of the day, you were seen visiting Mr Arthur’s house and returning a short time later with a bulging purse from which could be seen small plastic packages protruding, of the type used to supply addicts with illicit drugs.
“Your activities had a significantly detrimental effect upon the community in which you lived over a two-year period.”
Sheriff Crowe added that because McConnell did not appear to have profited to any great extent from her drug-dealing, he could only conclude that she had taken up that illegal trade to feed her ex-soldier son Glenn Noble’s addiction to heroin prior to his death in January of an overdose at the age of 30.
“You and Mr Arthur both incriminated your late son Glenn Noble, who was arrested at the same time in June of last year but sadly died earlier this year of drug problems,” he told her.
“It appeared that Glenn had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after tours in Afghanistan, and after leaving the Army a drink problem soon turned to a drug problem.
“Given the state Mr Noble was in when interviewed by police, he appeared incapable of operating a drug supply operation as it seemed likely he would consume most of the product.
“The evidence disclosed suggested more sinister circumstances, and it is reasonable to conclude that around about the time of the offence Glenn Noble became hopelessly addicted to heroin and other similar drugs.
“The cost of these drugs quickly exceeds the income the addict has and resort has to be made to theft, dealing, holding drugs for others or running up drug debts.
“Your circumstances revealed no sign of wealth consistent with the evidence of trafficking given by your neighbours and the quantity of drugs recovered at Mr Arthur’s safe house.
“Surely no one would take the risks you did to sell openly illegal drugs from their home at no benefit to themselves?
“The obvious answer is that you became involved in dealing diamorphine and accounting for the money received to a third party would help your son and ensure he had a regular supply.”
McConnell had no previous convictions, the court heard.
After the case, Detective Sergeant Barry Roebuck, of the CID proactive unit at Galashiels police station,said: “Drugs are a scourge on our communities and wreck lives, and those who profit from the misery of others will be robustly investigated and brought before the courts at every opportunity.
“We will continue to target drug dealers of all levels within the Scottish Borders to ensure they are brought to justice.”