LONDON — The Marquess of Blandford, a distant cousin of Sir Winston Churchill, was given a two-year suspended prison sentence today and fined more than $2,800 after pleading guilty to cocaine possession.
Blandford, 30, elder son of the Duke of Marlborough, choked back tears as his attorney told the court that years of drug addiction had made his client "a physical and mental wreck."
Judge Henry Pownall said he decided on a suspended sentence because Blandford was undergoing treatment for his addiction and appeared to be changing his life.
Blandford, heir to the $70-million Blenheim Palace estate near Oxford, was arrested in a drug den in north London on Dec. 13, 1985, surrounded by equipment used for consumption and dealing in cocaine.
The judge told Blandford: "It is quite awful to see someone like you with so many of the material advantages of this world pleading guilty to this offense. In some ways your background makes it worse."