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Mum buys daughter 12 bags of cocaine for her 18th: She hires a limo for drug binge – but is spared jail



A mother who bought £300 worth of cocaine as a birthday present for her daughter’s 18th has been spared jail.

Nicola Austen booked a limousine and bought 12 bags of the class A drug to ‘make sure she had a good time’.

The 37-year-old – who is also a grandmother – admitted that she was planning to take the cocaine with her college student daughter on a night of wild celebrations in London.

But Austen was arrested after the drugs were found hidden at her three-bedroom home in Tunbridge Wells in Kent.

Despite admitting possessing cocaine with intent to supply, Austen avoided jail and was instead given a nine-month suspended sentence.

Nicola Austen (pictured) booked a limo ride to London and got 12 packets of the Class A drug to take on the trip for her daughter’s 18th

The judge accepted her claims that the drugs were never to be distributed more widely, which he said allowed her to be given a lighter sentence.

But last night, speaking from her £300,000 terraced house, Austen showed little remorse.‘It’s all been blown out of proportion,’ she said. ‘I’ve had enough. It isn’t exactly the scoop of the century, is it? It was a party.’

A sniffer dog found 5.65grams of cocaine divided into 12 ‘wraps’ in sections of her bedroom window during a raid on January 31. Prosecutor Craig Evans told Maidstone Crown Court on Friday that she admitted having the drug to celebrate her daughter’s birthday.

‘They were going to London in a limousine and she wanted to make sure they had a good time,’ he explained.

The mother of three – who has six previous convictions including one for possessing amphetamines – arrived at the hearing with a packed bag, expecting to be jailed.

But she walked free after a judge decided nine months imprisonment could be suspended and 250 hours ‘onerous’ unpaid work imposed.

Danny Moore, defending, had argued there would be an adverse effect on a young boy in the family if Austen – who cares for her 14-year-old son – were jailed.

He added that she also provided respite and care for her elderly grandmother.

‘It is to her great shame she finds herself in court,’ he said. ‘She appeared to have left this sort of thing behind.’

He added that ‘in the very unusual circumstances of this case’, a suspended sentence could be imposed.

Despite admitting possessing cocaine with intent to supply, Austen avoided jail and was instead given a nine-month suspended sentence

Recorder Matthew McDonagh told Austen: ‘The basis of your plea … was the drugs were to be consumed by yourself and your daughter and had been purchased to celebrate her birthday on a trip to London.

‘Offences of this nature are to be taken seriously.’

The judge said Austen had previous convictions ‘of some antiquity’. He added: ‘I am persuaded the appropriate course is to accept the submissions.

‘I proceed on the basis this is a serious example of possession of drugs.’ But suspending the sentence for a year, Recorder McDonagh said of the unpaid work: ‘That is meant to be an onerous requirement which, no doubt, you will find difficulty in fulfilling.

‘The offence normally attracts a sentence of imprisonment of some length.’

Neighbours said the home Austen shares with her husband had been raided ‘several times’.

One said: ‘We saw the raid in January. There was a great big wagon and lots of police there. It was not nice.

‘She lives there with her husband and son, and then her daughter and her partner and her child.’

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