Prison warning for woman who supplied heroin to teenager before he died

A woman who supplied heroin to a teenager who died after taking it was warned she is likely go to jail by the sheriff on Thursday.

Brenda Pottinger, 39, of the town’s Sandveien, admitted supplying the class A drug to Daniel Mitchell, 18, on 17th December last year. He died after returning to the house he shared with his girlfriend shortly afterwards.

At Lerwick Sheriff Court, Pottinger also pled guilty to assaulting a woman, Samantha Chapman, on 13th April by grabbing her hair and striking her with a knife – an attack which left her victim with a two centimetre cut above her groin.

Sheriff Graeme Napier deferred sentence on Pottinger for reports to be compiled, but he warned her: “I don’t think you should be under any illusion it’s likely you will be sent to custody.”

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mac­Kenzie told the court that Stonehaven man Mitchell, who like Pottinger had “an aggressive heroin addic­tion”, had come to Shetland after meeting other drug users during a spell of custody in Aberdeen.

“On the day in question he was trying to source heroin in order to satisfy that aggressive habit,” he said. “Associates informed him a likely source would be the accused, and that information provided turned out to be correct.”

Mitchell went to Pottinger’s house, where she supplied him with a £20 bag of “fairly pure” heroin. “Daniel went back to the house he shared with his girlfriend, another drug user. They shared the heroin and he died as narrated in the charge,” said Mr MacKenzie.

He added that Pottinger was fortunate a recent clarification in the law meant she narrowly avoided being held on a charge of culpable homicide.

Defence agent Keith Bovie said a report from Aberdeen University’s forensic medicine unit said Mr Mit­chell had been “in a terrible state” when he died.

Urging Sheriff Napier to release her on bail, he said it would be “more convenient for all concerned” for reports to be prepared with Pottinger at liberty.

Calling for social inquiry, community service and restriction of liberty re­ports, the sheriff  adjourned the case until 7th October. He said he would not pre-judge custody until reports were prepared and released her on bail.


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