Rugby woman grew cannabis in her bedroom to help ease symptoms of her illness

Leamington Justice Centre, the home of Warwick Crown Court.
Leamington Justice Centre, the home of Warwick Crown Court.

A woman who grew cannabis in the garden and a bedroom of her Rugby home to help ease the symptoms of her emphysema has been ordered to carry out unpaid work.

A judge heard that Diane Doyle had been ‘quite pleased’ with her success after planting some seeds in the garden during the summer, so had started growing more.

Doyle, 50, of Alfred Street, Rugby, pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to producing a quantity of the class B drug.

She was given a 12-month community sentence and ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and to pay £535 costs at the rate of £10 a week.

Prosecutor Lee Marklew said that in October last year the police executed a search warrant at Doyle’s home at just before nine in the morning.

In a room on the first floor was a hydroponic set-up with a water tray, a pump and high-voltage lights, containing five small cannabis plants.

There was also a growing tent with two medium-sized plants and another six small ones.

And outside in the garden were six mature cannabis plants being grown in pots under plastic sheeting.

Doyle at first told the police she would put her hands up to the plants in the garden, but that the others had nothing to do with her.

Mr Marklew pointed out that if all the plants had reached maturity they would have yielded an estimated 627 grams of cannabis with a street value of £6,270.

When she was interviewed Doyle, who had no previous convictions but did have a caution for possessing cannabis, said she smoked it because she has emphysema, and it helps her to sleep.

She said she had planted the seeds in the garden in the summer and they had all come up, adding that she had been quite pleased with her success at it.

Mr Marklew added that Doyle had entered her guilty plea on the basis that she was responsible for all the plants, but that it had been her first attempt and she was growing them all for her own use.

Stephen Bailey, defending, said there was a note from Doyle’s doctor setting out her medical conditions.

Asking the judge to consider a curfew rather than unpaid work, he said Doyle, who has stopped using cannabis following her arrest, works long hours at two jobs, and has very limited free time.

Sentencing Doyle, Judge Alan Parker, told her: “The prosecution are far less cynical than I am about your intentions with this cultivation enterprise.

“I shall step back from my cynicism and sentence you according to the basis of your plea; but this is still very serious conduct.”