July 28 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, July 17, 2014
A man who went on the run for three years after a cannabis factory was discovered in Saffron Walden has been spared jail.
Although a judge at Chelmsford Crown Court said he was “taking a risk, contrary to my better judgement” he gave Bradley Goodwin, 50, pictured, of Hare Street, Buntingford, a suspended prison sentence.
Recorder Timothy Ashe QC said: “I am persuaded that this is an aberration, even though a serious one.”
Goodwin had pleaded guilty in 2011 to being concerned in the production of 282 cannabis plants, said to be worth up to half a million pounds if they had reached full yield, at a derelict house next to Old Cement Kiln in Thaxted Road, Saffron Walden, on November 16, 2009.
He also admitted possessing 11.8g and 60g of cannabis and to possessing a CG gas cannister on the same date.
But he failed to attend court in July 2011 and went on the run. On May 20 this year he handed himself in to Chelmsford Police Station saying his younger brother Charles had died and he wanted to be able to attend the funeral without fear of arrest.
Bradley Goodwin also pleaded guilty to failing to surrender to bail. He has told the court he spent three years staying with various friends.
On Wednesday the judge imposed an 11 month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with 250 hours’ unpaid work and a three month, electronically tagged, curfew from 8pm to 6am. He also ordered Goodwin to pay £1,200 prosecution costs.
Goodwin told police he got involved to pay off a £1,800 drug debt.
Mitigating, Oliver Grimwood said Goodwin made a conscious decision to go into the illegal enterprise but stressed it was an isolated incident.