Mum jailed for smuggling drugs into jail - Bovingdon

04/05/2012

A mother tried to smuggle ecstasy hidden in a Ribena packet straw to her son, who was an inmate at The Mount jail in Bovingdon.

Jennifer Barclay, 58, from Spellbrook near Bishop's Stortford, was described as having an "impeccable character" but had been "cajoled" by her son Billy in bringing the drug to the prison.

She was jailed for a year at St Albans Crown Court on Friday, 04 May 2012, after pleading guilty to conveying a listed article into prison on 18 November last year.

David Chrimes, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said Hertfordshire police had intelligence that an attempt would be made to smuggle the drug. Phone calls between the mother and son were monitored and when she arrived at the prison a sniffer dog alerted officers.

"Her hands were shaking and she emptied her pocket. The Ribena straw was found wrapped in cling-film and the police were called.

"The straw was analysed and contained 313 milligrams of MDMA - roughly equivalent to an ecstasy tablet. Its value in prison - higher than in the outside world is between £20 and £40," said Mr Chrimes.

Mrs Barclay, of London Road, Spellbrook, Bishop's Stortford had no previous convictions.

Defence barrister Gregory Fishwick said: "Her actions were stupid and misguided. She had been cajoled and badgered by son."

He said the son was under a "closed visit" regime which would have meant no contact would have been possible with the mother and she would have been unable to pass on the drug in any event.

Mr Fishwick said she was of  "impeccable" character, caring for others on a voluntary basis and helping her mother look after her elderly father.

He handed the judge a letter written to him by her son. He asked for the jail sentence to be suspended.

But jailing her Judge Stephen Warner said: "This is a serious offence which calls for a deterrent sentence. The case is a tragedy for you. You have been used and exploited."

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