County Durham cocaine dealer caught after being involved in high-speed car crash

Drug dealer, Ryan Lawrence, was jailed for over three years
Drug dealer, Ryan Lawrence, was jailed for over three years -Credit:Durham Constabulary

A County Durham cocaine dealer was caught after being involved in a high-speed car crash.

Ryan Lawrence, 32, was a passenger in a car that was being driven by his co-accused Joshua John Goodwin, 23, when the vehicle smashed into a brick building owned by Durham County Council. The collision caused "extensive damage" and left Goodwin with a bloodied and injured face.

But when police arrived at the scene, Lawrence was searched and was found to be in possession of 27 bags of cocaine. Both men have since appeared at court to be sentenced for their involvement in drug offences.

Drug dealer, Ryan Lawrence, was jailed for over three years
Drug dealer, Ryan Lawrence, was jailed for over three years -Credit:Durham Constabulary

On Friday, the pair appeared at Durham Crown Court for sentence. Lawrence, who appeared at the court via link, was sentenced for possession of cocaine with intent to supply. Goodwin was sentenced for being concerned in the supply of cocaine and dangerous driving.

Lawrence had denied the charge he faced but was found guilty following a trial. Goodwin had pleaded guilty to his charges.

The court heard that on July 8, 2022, Goodwin was driving a Vauxhall Insignia at "excessive speed" in Stanley, with Lawrence being a passenger in the car. Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said: "The car did not stop at a T-junction and drove into a small brick building owned by Durham County Council.

"Police attended and both defendants were arrested. Joshua Goodwin made a comment at the scene saying, 'I'm not getting spun for this'. He said he was driving for Ryan Lawrence who 'was doing drug deals'. Both defendants were interviewed and made no reply to questions."

Mr Dryden said that 27 bags of cocaine were found on Lawrence after he was searched and that Goodwin played a "lesser role". Goodwin also sustained facial injuries in the crash.

Calum McNicholas, defending Lawrence, of South Street, Chester-le-Street, said it was "relatively low level and unsophisticated drug dealing" that was carried out to "fund his own addiction". He said: "He is a man of effectively good character...he has had no experience of prison and is an environment that he's likely to struggle in. It was because of a significant degree of fear that resulted in the trial being ran."

Christopher Morrison, defending Goodwin, of Grampian Court, Stanley, said he had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and is someone with a "strong work ethic" who works as a labourer. He said: "He doesn't have any previous involvement in any crime whatsoever. He does acknowledge the complete stupidity of his actions."

Sentencing the pair, Judge Jo Kidd said that Goodwin had drank alcohol and hadn't even passed a driving test at the time of the crash. She said Goodwin was there to "assist" Lawrence, who was dealing at a "street level". The judge added that messages were found on the phone of Lawrence that were "indicative" of drug dealing.

Lawrence was jailed for 42 months with Goodwin being handed a 24 month prison sentence, suspended for two years. Goodwin must also complete 30 rehabilitation days, 200 hours unpaid work, and pay £150 costs.

He was also made subject of a six month electronic curfew and banned from driving for 12 months. He will have to sit an extended re-test if he wants his licence back.