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Stockton drug dealer freed to save brother's life
A DRUG dealer who faced prison for his third offence in two years has walked free - so he can save his brother's life.
David Sparrow, 33, had his court case adjourned last March so he could donate a kidney to seriously ill Chris McCabe.
He was warned by a judge that it would be inevitable that he would be locked up after recovering from the organ swap.
In November when he returned to Teesside Crown Court, Sparrow was given a further stay of execution by a second judge.
The court heard that the operation had not gone ahead because he was overweight and had to lose four-and-a-half stone.
He was told yet again to expect a prison sentence for being caught with £2,000 worth of amphetamine in his Stockton home.
Sparrow was back before a third judge this week yet walked free after the court heard the surgery could take place in May.
Judge Peter Bowers considered adjourning the case again, but instead imposed a 12-month suspended prison sentence.
He told Sparrow, of Doncaster Crescent, Stockton: "Events have somewhat overtaken you in the last 18 months to two years.
"You obviously have focused your life on donating your kidney to your brother.
"That has resulted in you losing weight and also cleaning your life up as far as drugs are concerned.
"That has a beneficial effect on you and also has a beneficial effect on the court in the sense I don't need to send you to prison.
"I expect you have learned a bitter lesson over the past few months with this hanging over your head."
Sparrow will also undergo Probation Service supervision for 18 months and was put on a three-month curfew from 7pm to 5am.
His barrister, Duncan McReddie, persuaded the judge to deal with the case, saying he had voluntarily sought help for his drug problem.
"No-one would wish certainty more than the Mr Sparrow and, of course, his brother is very keen for the transplant to take place because he is the one suffering at the moment," said Mr McReddie.
"Perhaps the most important aspect of his mitigation is the humanitarian act of donating a kidney to his brother.
"He cannot be sure that that won't be without personal physical consequences for him, but he is, nevertheless, willing to do it.
"Secondly, there is the passage of time since March last year and it has been beneficial because it has allowed him to show that he can commit to such a difficult personal thing as donating a kidney.
"He has lost a large amount of weight to get to the target weight required by the surgeon, and in addition to that, he has engaged in education to acquire marketable skills.
"The evidence of the past nine months is of a man who accepts that his conduct was wrong but has shown he is ripe for rehabilitation and can be an honest and productive member of society."
The court heard that Sparrow had been free from an 18-month prison sentence for dealing cocaine and amphetamine for just months when he was caught with the drugs in May 2011.
Mr McReddie said he became depressed after his release and started to use amphetamine and sell some of it to friends.
Following his reprieve last year, father-of-two Sparrow told The Northern Echo that he was glad he could be given the chance to save his brother’s life.
He said: “I’ve got no qualms about going to prison. I’ve done wrong, I know that, but I only wanted a little time to go through with this and then I’ll go to jail.”
Mr McCabe, 25, became seriously ill with kidney failure in November 2011, after Sparrow had been arrested.