A social worker’s son caught dealing drugs in Oxfordshire was ‘on the downhill path in life’, a court heard.

But a judge at Oxford Crown Court – exceptionally – gave Malcolm Njururi a suspended sentence after reading a remorseful prison letter from dealer expressing his desire for change.

Sentencing the 24-year-old this week, Recorder John Hardy QC said: “If you want a tip from me, young man, about how to live your life, live it with your family...who depend upon you; not with people who represent the dark side of life.”

He added: “You now, because you recognised it in the letter that you’ve written that you are on the downhill path in life.

“People who dabble in class A drugs for whatever reason whether to pay off a debt, contribute to the disintegration of society.

“That is why people who dabble in class A drugs are sentenced to terms of imprisonment.

“I would have sentenced you to an immediate custodial term were it not for the fact you have experienced what it is like to be inside and I just about have the hope that experience will persuade you not to go into prison again.”

Prosecutor Jonathan Stone said a police officer saw a drug addict walking into woodland near Abingdon on May 2. He followed them and saw Njururi palm a wrap of heroin to the addict.

The officer stopped and searched the pair. Njururi had more than £290 in cash and a burner phone.

Checks of drug users’ phones showed they’d been in contact with the dealer’s burner between April and May.

Mitigating, Gordanna Austin said her client – at 24 – was still young enough to have a chance of turning his back on his criminal ‘peers who quite clearly were not thinking of his own benefit’.

He had written a letter from prison, where he was on remand, expressing his willingness to ‘try’ and turn his life around.

He had a partner and children while his mother was a social worker. Ms Austin said: “Your honour can only imagine the shock when she found out about this.”

Njururi, of Normandy Crescent, Oxford, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to being concerned in the supply of class A drugs. He had six convictions but none for drug dealing.

Recorder Hardy imposed two years’ imprisonment suspended for two years, describing it as a ‘lenient’ sentence.

The dealer must do up to 32 rehabilitation activity requirement days, complete a six month alcohol treatment programme and pay £400 costs in four months.

The £292 cash found on him in May was ruled forfeit. The drugs and phone will be destroyed.

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