A man’s involvement in street-level drug dealing emerged after the car he was being driven in went out of control at a road junction and ploughed into a small brick building.

The Vauxhall Insignia was left embedded in the Durham County Council-owned building, in Stanley, and when emergency services attended the driver, Joshua John Goodwin, was found to be bloodied, with facial injuries.

Durham Crown Court was told both he and his passenger, Ryan Lawrence, were arrested, to which Goodwin made, “a significant comment”, telling the officers: “I’m not getting spun for this.”

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said Goodwin was recorded saying that he was driving for Lawrence, who was doing drug deals.

The Northern Echo: Passenger in crashed car, Ryan Lawrence, was found to be in possession of 11.2g of cocaine

When they searched Lawrence, police recovered 27 bags which were found to contain 11.2g of cocaine.

In their formal interviews, later, both defendants gave no reply replies to police questioning.

Mr Dryden said: “Goodwin appeared to be the driver, taking Lawrence around as he went about doing drug deals.”

Asked by Judge Jo Kidd about the cause of the collision, Mr Dryden said: “The only evidence was from a single witness who saw the vehicle being driven at speed.

“You can draw inference of that by the damage caused to the structure.”

Mr Dryden said the building was extensively damaged in the incident, on Durham Road, at about 5.45pm on July 8, 2022.

The Northern Echo: Vauxhall Insignia driven by Joshua Goodwin lost control and crashed into brick council building off

Twenty-four-year-old Goodwin, of Grampian Court, Stanley, admitted dangerous driving and being concerned in the supply of cocaine at the magistrates’ court early in proceedings, last October.

Lawrence, 32, of South Street, Chester-le-Street, denied a charge of possession of a class A drug with intent to supply.

But he was convicted at trial at the court earlier this week and remanded in custody pending Friday’s (May 3) sentencing hearing.

The Northern Echo: Ryan Lawrence received a 42-month prison sentence after being convicted of possessing cocaine with

Calum McNicholas, for Lawrence, told the court: “It appears this was relatively low-level unsophisticated drug dealing and you might assume it wasn’t prolonged as there may have been more evidence on his phone than there was.

“Regarding the financial aspect, it was probably drug supply to fund his own addiction.

“He’s a man of effectively good character with only a driving offence in 2010 and a caution for drug possession in the same year.

“He has no previous experience of prison and it’s an environment he’s likely to struggle in.”

The Northern Echo:

Mr McNicholas told Judge Jo Kidd he believed the reason why the defendant did not admit his guilt was, “a significant level of fear as to the sentence you are about to pass.”

Chris Morrison, for Goodwin said the case has been hanging over him for two years because of his co-accused’s denials, having admitted his role at the outset.

Mr Morrison said the defendant is of previous good character and since the offence has knuckled down, found work, and kept out of trouble.

“A custodial sentence in his case would scupper all the progress he has made since the offence.

“He clearly has a strong work ethic and he has a pair of willing hands to make reparation to society.”

Judge Kidd said she noted in the Probation Service’s pre-sentence report that Goodwin accepted that at the time of the offence he had not passed his driving test and had consumed alcohol.

“It was, therefore, unsurprising he was unable to control the vehicle and unsurprising he was involved in a crash.”

But she told Goodwin she accepted his role was to assist his co-accused, Lawrence.

“You drove the car and Mr Lawrence was engaged in the supply of drugs at a street level, and there’s no suggestion it was anything other than a one-off incident.”

But she told Lawrence that photos on his phone suggested he had been involved in cocaine supply for some months prior to the date of the offence.

She said he was, “not as wise” as his co-accused, in not admitting his guilt, but she was sentencing him on the basis it was street-level dealing.

He received a total prison sentence of three-and-a-half years (42 months), of which he must serve up to half behind bars before being released on licence.

Judge Kidd passed a 24-month prison sentence on Goodwin, but she said due to his prompt admissions and otherwise clean record she could suspend that for two years.

See more court stories from The Northern Echo, by clicking here

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During that time he must take part in 30 rehabilitation activity days overseen by the Probation Service, complete 200-hours’ unpaid work and observe a six-month electronically-monitored 7pm to 7am home curfew.

He was banned from driving for a year and must pass an extended re-test if he is to lawfully drive in future.

Judge Kidd told him he had come as close as is possible to receiving an immediate spell in jail and she warned him any breaches of the various elements of the sentence would bring him back before the court and face a likely prison sentence.