A GIFTED teacher’s cocaine-driven fall from grace culminated in him starting a lengthy jail sentence today (Friday September 27).

Police observed Michael Andrew Younghusband receiving a package in a rendez-vous with co-accused Keith Thomas Brumwell in the car park at Penshaw Monument, on Wearside.

Durham Crown Court heard that shortly afterwards police stopped Younghusband’s BMW car in nearby Newbottle, shortly before 3pm on August 21.

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He pointed to the package in the footwell and told them: “It’s a kilo of coke”.

John Gillette, prosecuting, said it emerged that it contained nearer three-quarters of a kilogram of the class A drug, with potential sale value of £29,760.

Police traced the other vehicle involved in the handover, a Land Rover Discovery, to Basingstoke Road, Peterlee, County Durham.

When officers approached Brumwell tried to get back into the vehicle and was detained.

Mr Gillette said a further 40.7g of cocaine, worth £1,664, were found in the Land Rover, at Brumwell’s home and in a garage to which he had access, in Beverley Way, Peterlee.

Plastic bags, scales and a hydraulic press, for preparation of cocaine, were also recovered.

Mr Gillette said £7,000 divided into £1,000 bundles was found at Younghusband’s home, in Kingswood, Penshaw.

Younghusband, 30, and 28-year-old Brumwell, both of previous good character, each admitted possessing cocaine with intent to supply at an earlier hearing.

Brumwell admitted a second similar charge over the smaller cocaine recovery at the start of today’s sentencing hearing.

Martin Scarborough, for Brumwell, and Jane Foley, for Younghusband, both told the court their clients became addicted to cocaine and were persuaded to help supply the drug, acting as “couriers or warehousemen” to reduce their debts.

Mr Scarborough said Brumwell, “perhaps somewhat naive over what he got himself into”, did not know who he was going to meet at the rendezvous or how much was in the package.

Miss Foley, who presented several character testimonials to the court on Younghusband’s behalf, said the offence has cost him his job of nine years as a geography and maths teacher at Dene Community School, in Peterlee, for which he received an “outstanding” commendation by Ofsted inspectors.

She said he began as a “recreational” user of cocaine, but became more addicted and, in a bid to reduce debts to dealers, worked part-time in both gyms and as a door supervisor.

Miss Foley said Younghusband, declared bankrupt last year, agreed to act as courier to reduce his debt by £500.

Brumwell was jailed for four years and four months, while Younghusband received a sentence of three years and four months.

Recorder Toby Hedworth told Younghusband: “Sadly, this is a true fall from grace in your case.”

Both men will now be subject to proceeds of crime inquiries, with a hearing at the court scheduled for February 15.

• Asked about Younghusband’s position at Dene Community School, Durham County Council’s head of education, Caroline O’Neill, said last night: “Now sentencing has taken place, the school governors will go through the appropriate processes and take the relevant action.”