ACT News

Former basketballer turned drug addict Janna Sladic dead of overdose

Janna Maree Sladic
Janna Maree Sladic Photo: Melissa Adams

A former Canberra elite basketballer and model has died from a suspected drug overdose.

Janna Maree Sladic, 29, was found by family about 1.30am on Friday at a west Belconnen home.

Family members called emergency services and paramedics arrived shortly after, but Sladic could not be revived.

Police were called about 2.20am and a crime scene established.

The death is being treated as non-suspicious and was suspected to have been a heroin overdose.

An autopsy has been carried out and the results are pending.

Police could not confirm if drug paraphernalia had been found nearby.

Sladic's death comes less than two-weeks after she walked free from a Canberra court after convincing a judge she had taken significant steps toward rehabilitation.

Sladic had been a promising semi-professional basketballer who filled reserve spots for the Canberra Capitals.

But her life began to unravel after a 2005 car crash cut short her sporting career.

She began to abuse pain killers, and then fell into heroin and crime.

At one point she dated notorious criminal Matthew Massey.

Over the next decade she was convicted of 37 offences, most for dishonesty, including armed robbery, burglary, and theft.

But, earlier this month, the ACT Supreme Court heard Sladic had started to win her battle with addiction.

She had appeared before Justice Richard Refshauge for resentence after breaching a suspended sentence for a knifepoint robbery at a Hawker fast food restaurant in 2011.

Sladic had been sentenced to a suspended jail term in December 2012 for the raid, but had been caught by police during a burglary of a Hawker home in 2013.

In 2014, the judge again spared her jail and Sladic repaid the opportunity by completing a four-month rehabilitation program in the Hunter Valley.

On February 10, the court heard she had been offered a job as the singer in a jazz band and intended to relocate to Queensland for a fresh start away from negative peers in Canberra, many of whom were drug users.

Justice Refshauge resentenced Sladic to a three-year jail term, backdated to take into account time spent in custody.

He suspended the remaining prison time upon Sladic entering a good behaviour order, which included obligations to undergo counselling and drug testing.

But the judge warned her to remain "committed and focused" or risk "backsliding" into addiction.

A magistrate also ordered Sladic to sign a good behaviour order after suspending an 11-month jail sentence for burglary.

Sladic smiled at cameras as she left the court.