Middle class drug user from Woodbury jailed

Exeter Crown Court

Exeter Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A middle-class drug user has been jailed after his party lifestyle ruined his career as a swimming coach and led him into dealing. 

Hamilton Easton left school with 12 GCSEs and good A level results and was a talented sportsman who swam for his county and was offered work in Dubai as a coach. 

His mother and stepfather are both former police officers. His mother Jane still works for the College of Policing, but they were powerless to prevent his slide into recreational drug use. 

Easton, now 28, started taking ecstasy and ketamine with friends at weekend parties but became addicted and started dealing to fund his habit. 

A judge at Exeter Crown Court rejected a plea for mercy from his family, who said that he has turned his life around in the two years since his arrest and is now working at an NHS testing centre. 

His stepfather Neil Hamilton-Greensides said he is now in a relationship with a nurse and has started training with a martial arts club. He said his family tried to stop his drug use. He said: “I warned him he would bring shame on his mother.” 

His barrister Simon Burns described him as an avid reader who has squandered his good education but would be crushed by a jail sentence. 

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Easton was found with drugs and cash by police in Exeter after be passed out in his car from an accidental overdose of ketamine at a filling station and staff called the emergency services. 

He was taken to hospital for treatment while police recovered drugs, resealable bags, and £3,250 cash, some of which was spilling out of his pockets. 

Messages on his three phones showed he was supplying a group of friends who took drugs at parties at weekends. 

Easton, of Town Lane, Woodbury, admitted possession of class A MDMA (ecstasy) and class B ketamine with intent to supply and possession of a taser and was jailed for three years by Recorder Mr James Freeman at Exeter Crown Court. 

He told him he could not step outside sentencing guidelines, which lay down a starting point of four and a half years for dealing class A in a significant role. He deducted a third for a guilty plea. 

He said: “These are very serious offences. The prosecution accept you became involved partly to feed your own addiction and it is clear that at the time of your arrest, you had overdosed on ketamine. 

“You had larger amounts of cash than is found on most people who are street dealers. You started life with many advantages but you got involved in not just using but dealing and it was a slippery slope.” 

Mr Samuel Castlehouse, prosecuting, said police were called to a petrol station in Exeter on October 12, 2019, after staff saw a driver who was ‘out of it’ in his car. 

Officers found ketamine in the glove box and cash loose in the car and falling out of his pockets. There were 22 resealable bags containing brown powder and 70 MDMA tablets. 

A total of £3,250 cash was seized from the car and his bedroom and the total street value of the drugs was estimated at £2,600. A taser which he had brought back from Thailand was found at his home but did not work. 

Mr Simon Burns, defending, said Easton had a supportive family and had done well academically and as a young sportsman but had started using party drugs and became addicted. 

He was only selling to friends who were already users and operating on his own on a small scale rather than being ‘a grand scheming entrepreneur’. 

Easton was jailed as Home Secretary Priti Patel and police minister Kit Malthouse launched a campaign to name and shame middle class recreational drug users.

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