Dancer used drugs to control weight

A PROMISING dancer's international career pirouetted out of control when she began using drugs to manage her weight while touring Japan as a teen.

Felicity Jane Stephens, now 29, was sent to jail on Tuesday for importing 22kg of GBL, a precursor to party drug fantasy, from China to the Gold Coast where she grew up.

Brisbane Supreme Court heard she had arranged a $1037 Western Union money transfer for a man and then communicated with someone in China to have the drug - used for cleaning and other industrial purposes - delivered.

Customs intercepted the parcel and police were waiting for Stephens at an airport upon her return from a trip to Hong Kong in July last year.

Commonwealth prosecutor Heather Cunningham told the court Stephens had previously served two years of a three-year sentence for importing cannabis into Japan in 2005.

Stephens had been dating a Japanese organised crime syndicate Yukuza member's son at the time.

State prosecutor Sam Bain told the court Stephens was already on bail for other drug-related offences when she was arrested for importing the drug.

He said a driver had to take evasive action in Surfers Paradise when Stephens fell asleep at the wheel of her car and drifted across the road.

Mr Bain said police found GHB and methylamphetamines in her car.

On another occasion, police had found her drifting in and out of consciousness in the passenger seat of a car at Kurrawa.

They found 160g of pure liquid fantasy and some methyamphetamines

Mr Bain said an expert told the Crown ingesting GHB could result in users falling into a light sleep.

He said Stephens had 600ml, which would amount to 40 "capfuls", and heavy users would ingest one to three capfuls a day.

Defence barrister Tim Ryan said his client was a talented dancer who left school in Year 10 to begin touring across America, Japan, Asia and around Australia.

He said she began using crystal meth at age 17 while in Japan after she was told it would help her maintain a low weight.

Justice Peter Applegarth sentenced Stephens to five years and four months in jail.

He said he was "sad for the family" because they had put their faith in carers as any parent routinely did when sending children on exchange or tours abroad.

"It's tragic an individual like Ms Stephens, who showed such promise in a field, was unfortunately caught up in drug use when she was overseas," he said.

"Her parents say they sought assurances she would be chaperoned and well looked after."

Stephens must serve at least two years and three months of the sentence before she is eligible for parole.


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