‘Vulnerable’ woman hid drugs in her bra


A Burnley couple have been handed prison sentences, one suspended, for their part in supplying heroin.

Luke Gorton (29) was jailed for three years and his girlfriend Laura Rickwood (22) was given a 12 month suspended prison sentence with 12 months supervision, when they appeared at Burnley Crown Court.

Rickwood, described as “vulnerable”, is the sister of Adam Rickwood, who in 2004 was the youngest person to die in British custody when he was found hanged in his cell aged 14 at Hassockfield Secure Training Centre in County Durham.

Gorton, of Greenock Close, pleaded guilty to supplying heroin, the theft of a quadbike and the breach of a community order.

The court was told that Gorton had 16 convictions and 31 offences dating back to 1998.

Miss Kimberley Obrusik (prosecuting) told the court that a police raid on the couple’s home in Greenock Close in February last year found scales, plastic bags and foil wraps of heroin.

She added: “Quantities of cash of £680, £110 and £145 were also discovered around the house, as were five mobile phones.

“Laura Rickwood had a wrap of heroin hidden in her bra, which Luke Gorton admitted belonged to him.”

Miss Obrusik added that on May 22nd Luke Gorton and Nicholas Gorton, who will be sentenced in April, stole a quadbike worth £7,000 and a generator from a farm in Kendal, Cumbria.

The pair had hired a van from a Burnley company which they used to steal the quadbike.

Mr Philip Holden (defending Gorton) said: “My client became addicted to cocaine, from which he built up a debt.

“As such he was invited by those higher up the chain to deal drugs on their behalf. While he has been in custody he has become drug-free and now acts as a mentor to other prisoners.”

Mr Hugh McKee (defending Rickwood) said that she lacked maturity and was vulnerable. She had no previous convictions.

Recorder Nigel Grundy said: “This is a case of street dealing in which you (Gorton) have played the main role.

“Laura Rickwood you were clearly vulnerable and under the influence of your older boyfriend. I am placing trust in you and your family.”