Knife-wielding Northampton drug dealer who pulled away from gang life in two years since arrest spared jail

The judge said: "I am exceptionally - not even by a fingernail - going to suspend your sentence"

A drug dealer has been given a second chance after pulling away from the gangs he was involved in through a drug debt.
A drug dealer has been given a second chance after pulling away from the gangs he was involved in through a drug debt.

A Northampton heroin dealer who weaned himself off drugs and pulled away from gang life in the two years since his arrest has been offered a second chance.

Jack Marchant, of Greenfield Avenue, was arrested in September 2018 after he was caught on CCTV brandishing a knife in an altercation with two other men on Market Place in Kettering.

When police arrived to arrest him, the then-19-year-old repeatedly told the officers he needed the knife "to protect himself".

He was searched and officers found aplastic container containing £600 worth of crack cocaine and heroin.

Yesterday, nearly two years after he was arrested, Marchant appeared at Northampton Crown Court for sentencing.

However, his defence barrister, Miss Michelle Williams, told the court that the 21-year-old had used the time since his arrest to wean himself off drugs and "step away" from the gangs he was involved in.

She said: "Having a brush with the law shook him up and has, in a word, fixed himself.

"Knowing he is facing an immediate custodial sentence he has done all he can to get himself off drugs, to get away from those with a negative impact on him and to do all he can to set himself up.

"Your Honour will know the pressure those who are in debt to drug dealers come under. He knew what they could do and he had been told what they could do. He felt the way of getting out was to sell the drugs and move on."

In sentencing, Recorder Stuart Sprawson told Marchant: "You deliberately and intentionally took that lock knife out into the public with the intent to use it if needed.

"Knives kill people. And those who carry knives must be prepared for the court to come down heavily on them.

"But having looked at you across the courtroom today and seen the way you have behaved, I have exceptionally - and not even by a fingernail - decided I'm going to suspend your sentence.

"If you breach this order even once you can expect to go to prison."

Marchant was handed a 21-month prison sentence suspended for two years. He will also have to pay £250 in costs, complete 100 hours of unpaid work and serve a curfew between 7pm and 7am for six months.