THE disgraced son of a Scarborough mayor was spared jail for drug dealing after a plea by his father to the judge.
Keep fit enthusiast Christopher Backhouse was drawn into a drugs conspiracy during his dad Andrew’s civic year.
He did not smoke and hardly drank until he dabbled in legal highs and became addicted to other drugs, York Crown Court was told.
He was then tempted into the sordid world of drug dealing - while his businessman dad was still Mayor of Scarborough, the court heard.
But his double life was exposed after co-conspirator George Baker-Davis was caught with drugs in his car with more hidden in his trainer and sock.
Mobile phone evidence linked Baker-Davis, 19, to Backhouse, 25, and a third conspirator Samuel Swift, also 19.
The Tory Mayor’s son was charged wth. supplying mephedrone, known as M-Cat and meow meow, and now a Class B drug between March and May 2014.
Stepfather Mr Backhouse, 51, agreed with counsel yesterday the offences had been committed while his son had been “in the grip of his addiction”.
The court heard he had nine GCSEs and a diploma on sports.
Coun Backhouse told the court yesterday: “I have been his dad for 23 years. He changed - from being a keep fit coach and personal trainer at a local spa.
“He was completely into health. He would not smoke and hardly drank.
“Unfortunately, he got on legal highs and changed the job he had had for years.
“He became a bit of a nomad. He would leave home and come back two or three days later.
“He was just not there. He became aggressive and did not speak about things.
“He was in a deep hole. More recently, we have seen him come out of that. This has been a massive wake up call.
“Myself and his mother have always been there for him and tried our best to pull him through this.
“We have seen a massive change in him. He has even offered to go into schools and talk to children about the perils of what he has been doing.”
He said the case had made headlines all the way to America and his 19-year-old daughter had “come home in tears” after being targetted on social media.
“Our youngest child is 12. We’ve tried our best to shield him from this but he is deeply, deeply concerned about the consequences of this case - as we all are.
“We have tried to get across to him the impact he has had on his family - the strain on me and his mother.
“The bottom line is - we are here for him.”
Mr Backhouse and his wife Susan, 46, watched from the public gallery as their son, who could have been jailed for upto three years, was given a nine month sentence suspended for 18 months.
He was also ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work and pay a £100 surcharge.
Defending barrister Glenn Parsons said: “What his family has been through must be regarded as every parent’s worst nightmare.
“He started off experimenting with what were then legal highs.
“It is yet another case where it led to experimenting with other drugs.
“It is seen by some as harmless entry to the drug culture.
“It has led to devastation across Christopher Backhouse and his family.
“He is now fully aware of the damage he has done. He knows the shame he has brought on himself and his family - his father in particular.’
He had been drawn into drug dealing “because he thought like many have done before it was an easy and glamorous thing to do.
“When the dust begins to settle the biggest test will be whether he slides back into his old ways,” Mr Parsons continued.
“I would argue the best support is in the community with a sentence hanging over his head.
“They’re not the type of parents to let him get away with anything and will be keeping a watchful eye on him.”
Judge Peter Miller was satisfied Backhouse had only dealt in drugs within his own circle of friends for ten weeks.
He added: “All of these offences cross the custody threshold. Drugs are a scourge - most especially in your own age group.
“The offending as in so many cases stemmed from your own addiction to such drugs.
“You have lost your employment as a result of the publicity surrounding the case and have yet to be re-employed.”
The trio, all from Scarborough, pleaded guilty to supplying class B drugs.
Backhouse also admitted supplying another Class B drug, ketamine, during a five-day period in January.
Baker-Davis was given 12 months in a young offenders institution suspended for two years.
He was also ordered to do 260 hours unpaid work, pay a £100 surcharge, and lost his licence for a year for driving while unfit due to drugs.
Swift was given six months suspended for a year and 140 hours unpaid work and £80 surcharge.
The judge added: “You’re free to go. It was a close one for you all.”
Outside court, Coun Backhouse said: “There’s nothing more to say. I said it all in court and I stand by that.”