Mum of murdered Connor Barrett spared jail for drugs offences
PUBLISHED: 16:23 21 May 2020
A woman whose 20-year-old son was stabbed to death at a 21st birthday party has been spared jail after she admitted drugs offences.
Niomi O’Donovan, 49, whose son Connor Barrett died after he was attacked at a party at Hemsby, in Norfolk, six years ago, was arrested following a police raid in Great Yarmouth.
The raid on a home in Ordnance Road, Great Yarmouth, by the neighbourhood policing team, was part of Operation Gravity, which aims to crackdown on crime linked to drug dealing and use.
Norwich Crown Court heard O’Donovan was found at the address along with two others together with drugs paraphernalia.
Martin Ivory, prosecuting, said O’Donovan had been in an “on/off relationship” with one of the two others found.
He said she was found with cannabis as well as 24 wraps of diamorphine close to her and taken to a bedroom where it was found she had secreted 11 wraps of diamorphine.
The court heard she was to tell police that when officers raided she was “told” to do something with the drugs and “secreted it at their behest”.
Mr Ivory said police confirmed that this account was “not fanciful” and she had done as directed, adding that she had performed a limited role under direction.
O’Donovan, formerly of Compass Tower, Norwich, appeared in court for sentence on Thursday (May 21) after she previously admitted possession with intent to supply class A drugs on June 21 last year as well as possession of cannabis.
Judge Maureen Bacon said that the defendant had “some terrible life experiences” and experienced “a great deal of unhappiness”, stating that drugs had been her solace but were a “false solace”.
The judge gave the defendant credit for her pleas and accepted she had performed a limited role under direction.
Despite O’Donovan having previous convictions for drugs offences, Judge Bacon aid it would be “manifestly unjust” to impose a mandatory minimum term and passed a 12 month sentence, suspended for 12 months.
She was also sentenced to 30 days rehabilitation activity requirement (RAR) days.
Danielle O’Donovan, mitigating, said the defendant deserved credit for her pleas and was working to address her drug addiction.
Tributes to a considerate, kind and caring son
Connor Barrett was described as “considerate, kind and caring” as well as a dedicated and devoted father to his own son by his family after his death.
The 20-year-old, of Abyssinia Close, Great Yarmouth, died as a result of a fatal stab wound following a “joint attack” at a 21st birthday party at The Glebe on May 10 2014.
A statement released by his heartbroken family stated: “His life has been cruelly stolen from him and his family, when he was coming into the prime of his life just a month away from his 21st birthday.”
The statement added they had “suffered immeasurable sadness; there are no words which can describe the pain and grief we feel”.
In January 2015, Jesse Quaye, then 18, and Ayomindy Bile, then just 15, were both sentenced to a minimum term of 15 years in custody.
They were both found guilty of murdering Connor following a trial in November 2014.
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