A local journalist in Cumbria who recently fled her home over death threats has been given a year’s driving ban after police caught her behind the wheel while under the influence of cocaine.
Amy Fenton, chief reporter on Newsquest’s The Mail in Barrow, was also fined for possession of cocaine at Workington Magistrates’ Court today after three wraps of the Class A drug were found in the passenger footwell of her Alfa Romeo car.
Fenton, who was charged under her married name of Robertson, admitted both offences but told the court she had been under great stress since her mother died in 2018 and after receiving hundreds of death threats over her reporting this year.
Press Gazette reported in February that a man was jailed after writing on Facebook that Fenton, 35, “needs raping”.
She was tearful as she told the court today the situation has since “all escalated because of a recent case I have reported on involving a woman who was charged with perverting the course of justice [accused of] making false allegations of rape against five men”.
She told the court today that the situation was “very high stress”. There was a police presence in the magistrates’ court building for her safety while she attended the hearing.
Prosecutor Pamela Fee told the court that at about 6.40pm on 6 March, two police officers stopped Fenton, of Broughton Road, Dalton-in-Furness, “due to the manner of the driving”.
She was seen on the M6 northbound near junction 36 driving at speeds up to 85mph while also “slowing down due to other traffic on the road”.
Fee said police did a roadside drugs test because of Fenton’s “demeanour” that came back positive for cocaine.
As well as the three wraps of the drug in the passenger footwell, the officers found a laptop that had been used as a cutting device as seen by marks across the top and powder residue.
A blood test in custody later found Fenton had 13mcg/L of cocaine in her blood, over the legal limit of ten.
Fee told the court Fenton had admitted to police she was an “occasional cocaine user” who usually had a couple of wraps per week, but “could not be specific” about when she had last taken the drug before being arrested.
The magistrates’ bench, led by Mr K Wilderspin, gave Fenton the minimum possible driving disqualification of 12 months due to her “remorsefulness” and the fact she has no recent relevant convictions.
Her only previous conviction is of driving with excess alcohol in 2007, the court heard.
The magistrates gave Fenton a total financial penalty of £490, made up of £323 for the drug driving offence, £50 for the possession of cocaine, £85 costs and a £32 victim surcharge.
The court hearing was also covered by Fenton’s newspaper, The Mail.
Picture: Amy Fenton