Pete Doherty back behind bars
Friday 20 May 2011
Musician Pete Doherty was jailed for six months today after pleading guilty to possession of cocaine.
The 32-year-old, who was due to be playing Glasgow Barrowland tonight, was arrested in January last year by police investigating the suspected overdose death of heiress Robyn Whitehead.
The controversial singer, of Camden High Street, north London, has twice been jailed before and has repeatedly admitted possession of class A substances.
A spokesman for the Barrowlands venue in Glasgow said the gig would be postponed until further notice.
Doherty leaned forward in his seat as he was sentenced at east London's Snaresbrook Crown Court but did not show any emotion as he was sentenced for the single count.
Judge David Radford said he had an "appalling record" of committing offences, having already made 13 other court appearances.
Peter Wolfe, 42, who had pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of cocaine and one count of supplying cocaine to Miss Whitehead, was sentenced to a total of 12 months in prison.
Judge Radford said: "The circumstances in which the committal of these offences which I have to deal with today is tragic.
"Police became aware of the relevant evidence because of the investigation which followed the discovery of the sad death of a young woman who had been present at the address where the offences had been committed.
"The offences involved the social supply of crack cocaine in a crack cocaine pipe, which you handed to that person.
"I make it clear though, abundantly clear, that the young woman's death was not caused by that supply of crack cocaine.
"Unhappily and tragically that woman died from the poisoning of another illegal Class A drug which she had chosen to take.
"The grief and loss to her family and friends caused by her death cannot and should not be sought in any way to be expiated by the sentence I pass today."
Miss Whitehead, 27, the granddaughter of the late Teddy Goldsmith, founder of The Ecologist magazine, spent the last 10 days of her life creating a documentary about Doherty.
Her mother, Dido Whitehead, is a cousin of Jemima Khan and Zac Goldsmith and her father is film-maker Peter Whitehead.
Outlining the case, prosecutor Alison Morgan said paramedics were called to Wolfe's flat in Landmark Heights, Hackney, east London, at around 8pm on January 24 last year.
They attempted to resuscitate Miss Whitehead but she was pronounced dead shortly after 8pm.
Toxicology reports found she had a combination of cocaine and heroin in her body and had died of heroin poisoning.
When police attended the address they seized a crack pipe along with other drug paraphernalia along with the video footage that Miss Whitehead had taken.
Footage filmed on January 22 inside the flat showed her in the flat with Wolfe and him passing her a crack pipe, which she then smoked.
Doherty later joined them and was also filmed smoking on the crack pipe and putting crack cocaine inside it.
Ms Morgan said the drugs offences for which the two men had been charged had been committed between January 22 and that day but that the crack cocaine that Wolfe had supplied Miss Whitehead with could not have been what killed her.
Wearing a grey suit with waistcoat, a navy blue cravat and with a red handkerchief dangling out his top pocket, Doherty had whispered continually to his co-defendant as the background to the case was read out.
The pair, who were both clean-shaven but looked scruffy and dishevelled, were flanked by three security officers as they sat in the dock in the packed courtroom.
During mitigation Peter Ratliff, defending Doherty, said he was renowned for his drug abuse, adding: "It's an offence which addicts commit every day of every year."
He said of his client, who has fronted indie bands Libertines and Babyshambles and has recently been touring as a solo artist: "Any claim that this defendant somehow glamorises drug use is misguided.
"He takes no pleasure in his addiction. It's one thing he's said publicly he would not wish upon his worst enemy.
"He is acutely aware of the agonising nature of addiction.
"He has to live with the fact that when he receives publicity it's almost entirely negative and that's entirely for his actions."
Mr Ratliff said Doherty was busier than ever with his music career, is starring in a film and has designed his own clothing range and if he were to be jailed he would be letting down countless other people he works with.
"He is someone who can make a very valuable contribution to our music industry, our film industry and to the economy," he said.
He said he could be heard talking about how he wanted to give up taking drugs on the film and could also be heard to refuse to give Miss Whitehead the crack pipe himself.
Elaine Stapleton, defending Wolfe, said he was "genuinely remorseful" for his actions.
She said he was currently on a methadone script and had moved to Maidstone, Kent, in a bid to get over his drug addiction.
The court heard details of Doherty's lengthy list of previous convictions.
He was first arrested for possessing drugs in October 2005 and since then has repeatedly admitted possession of class A substances.
In 2008, he served 29 days of a 14-week sentence in Wormwood Scrubs prison after being arrested on drugs charges the previous year.
In 2003 he admitted burgling the home of former Libertines bandmate Caral Barat and was sentenced to six months in prison, later cut to two on appeal.
Addressing the troubled singer, the judge said: "There is no doubt that you are a talented and successful musician.
"You have though, an appalling record of committing offences of the same kind as I have to deal with on this occasion."
He added that Doherty should receive the "appropriate penalty" regardless of his career.
He sentenced Wolfe to two lots of four months and one of 12 months for each of his three charges, to run concurrently.
Doherty, who gave a wave to friends at the back of the courtroom as he was led down to the cells, had previously said he was "shocked and saddened" by Miss Whitehead's death.
Her family, who were in court, declined to comment after the hearing but a friend paid tribute.
Sarah Clarke, 37, said she had known Miss Whitehead for 15 years after working with her.
She said: "She was just the life and soul, a really loyal friend. She was unique and a very special person"
Speaking of Miss Whitehead's friendship with the defendants, she said: "She was not like them. She was not a drug addict in any way. She just got swept away."
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