Magistrate urges heroin addict to conquer his demons
A magistrate took the unusual step of urging a serial drug addict and shoplifter to conquer his addictions so he can lead a normal life.
Annie Dimmock, chair of the bench at Wimbledon Magistrates' Court, spoke passionately to defendant Piers Hansen, 32, as he stood in the dock on Wednesday (January 9) before handing him a suspended sentence.
Homeless Hansen was facing a prison sentence, his seventh in just three years, after being caught with six bottles of wine and six packets of Beechams hidden in his coat at Tesco in Battersea Rise on December 20.
He was also caught in possession of a small amount of cannabis as he was searched.
Hansen, who had been estranged from his affluent Balham family, had only been released from Wandsworth Prison on December 1.
But Ms Dimmock opted to be lenient provided the defendant receives professional help to conquer his demons.
She said: "You can overcome these problems, it takes time but in can be done. I have seen people overcome problems like this.
"I know it is going to be hard but life is hard.
"There is help out there for you, but you need to get professional help.
"But if you commit any other offence during the next six months you will go to prison."
The court heard Hansen had battled heroin addiction for the last 10 years, he is now on methadone, and was trapped in a "vicious cycle" of drug abuse, theft, arrest and release.
Hansen was handed an eight week jail term, suspended for six months as well as being asked to pay costs of £80.
Last year, Hansen's mother Sue contacted the Wandsworth Guardian to express her anger at the lack of help for her son from drug dependency agencies.
Speaking in June Mrs Hansen said: "Each time he has been arrested and released he has been offered no support, no money and nowhere to sleep.
"We have talked to, begged and pleaded with all the major agencies involved with drug abuse and mental health issues. No one has offered any tangible support.
"His life is totally wasted and we wonder how much life he has left, we have half prepared ourselves already for the worst."
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