October 24, 2017 1.47 pm This story is over 50 months old

Prisoner’s heart stopped twice after taking psychoactive substance

A near death experience.

An inmate at North Sea Camp open prison almost died after taking a psychoactive substance, Lincoln Crown Court has heard.

Darren Stephenson, who was serving a four year jail sentence for burglary, was found in a coma inside his cell.

Stephenson was rushed to hospital but during the journey his heart stopped twice and he nearly died.

At hospital, synthetic cannabis was found inside his sock and a kinder egg was discovered secreted between the cheeks of his buttocks.

Inside was a dealer list and three tablets of the illegal drug buprenorphine.

Stephenson, 29, of Corby, Northamptonshire, admitted possession of a psychoactive substance with intent to supply and possession of buprenorphine with intent to supply.

He also admitted possession of a psychoactive substance within a custodial institution on 16 September 2016.

But he escaped an immediate jail sentence after the court was told that he has turned his life around since being released early from his prison sentence and has given up taking illicit substances.

Recorder Roger Evans gave him an eight month jail sentence suspended for two years telling him: “This is your chance. Please take it.”

Stuart Lody, prosecuting, said: “The defendant was a serving prisoner at North Sea Camp open prison. A prison officer was carrying out a routine check on the cells.

“He entered the cell which Darren Stephenson shared with another prisoner. He found both of the prisoners to be under the influence of substances.

“The cellmate was rocking back and forth. Stephenson was lying on his back completely comatose.

“Such was the concern for his welfare that an ambulance was called and he was taken to hospital. He stopped breathing on two occasions.

“It may well be that his near-death experience has brought him up short and changed his mind as to whether it is a good idea to take these substances.”

Stephen Hadley, in mitigation, said that Stephenson’s life has changed dramatically since he was released from prison on licence in March of this year.

Mr Hadley said: “He has made an enormous amount of progress since his release. He has managed to get a job, he has a new partner and he is now drug-free. He is in a better place now than he has ever been before

“He has been under the supervision of probation since he left prison. He has a tracker fitted to him until 2019 so the police can keep an eye on him.”

He said that in the past Stephenson suffered a number of personal tragedies and then received serious injuries, including brain damage, in a road accident.

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