A FORMER drug user, who escaped an abusive relationship after being held hostage by her ex for nine days, has been spared jail.

A court heard Dionne Halliday, 26, was turning her life around for the sake of her son and unborn child.

Halliday appeared at Southend Magistrates’ Court and admitted possessing quantities of cocaine, heroin and methadone and using threatening behaviour as she argued with her former partner in Guildford Road, Southend, on September 24 last year.

Lesley Chipps, prosecuting, said: “Police on patrol saw a woman having an argument with two males. She was arrested and then found with various drugs on her.”

The single mother, who is also pregnant, has since moved to Meadow Road, Barking, in a bid to turn her back on her old lifestyle.

Helen Walsh, mitigating, said: “The last few months have been very stressful for Miss Halliday, who had been in an abusive relationship for eight months. It culminated in, not long before Christmas, her former partner holding her hostage for nine days.”

Mrs Walsh added: “The drugs were in her possession, but she didn’t intend to use them. She felt that she had to look after them for her partner at the time.”

Miss Halliday has admitted being a drug user in the past, but stopped six months ago. She was given a 12-month conditional discharge, and will face no additional punishment unless she commits a further offence in that time.