Sheffield mum spared jail for attempting to smuggle drugs into prison
A Sheffield mum, who attempted to smuggle a Class B drug into prison for her indebted 'boyfriend', has been given a suspended prison sentence.
Judge Roger Thomas QC sentenced Mia Turner to six months in prison, suspended for 12 months, for a charge of taking a controlled drug, namely cannabis, into prison.
During the hearing at Sheffield Crown Court this morning, Judge Thomas said he was able to suspend 26-year-old Turner's sentence because he accepted there were 'exceptional circumstances' that had led to her committing the offence.
Prosecuting, Stephen Welch, told the court how on May 5 last year Turner, of Richmond, Sheffield attempted to smuggle three packages into HMP Lindholme in Doncaster, one of which contained 4.9 grams of cannabis.
Judge Thomas told Turner: "You took some cannabis into Lindholme for your boyfriend or for the general supply in prison."
Turner handed over the packages when prison officers carried out a strip search after sniffer dogs indicated she had drugs in her possession, the court was told.
Richard Adams, defending, said Turner made 'frank admissions' to the prison officers when they searched her, and told them that the other two packages, which were around 15 grams in weight, contained the substance, Spice.
He told the court how the man Turner had attempted to smuggle the drugs into prison for had racked up debts with some of his fellow prisoners, and had asked for her help.
Mr Adams said Turner, a single mother to a six-year-old boy, had attempted to pay them off with her own money and had also 'maxed out her credit cards' in the process.
He told the court how after the inmates her 'boyfriend' was indebted to had been given her address, two 'Asian men' began visiting her flat block, and asking her for things over the intercom.
On one occasion they managed to gain access to the block itself and began knocking on her door, the court was told.
Mr Adams said that after several visits from the men, and unsuccessful attempts to get staff at HMP Lindholme to help her out of the situation, she eventually agreed to try and smuggle drugs into the prison.
"After having a difficult background of her own, she really does seek to do the best by her son. She's clearly been misguided by her concerns for her son, because trying to manage the perceived threat has resulted in her attendance at this court," said Mr Adams, who described Turner as a 'vulnerable woman'.
He did not mention whether Turner had reported the harassment she was subjected to by the two 'Asian men' to the police.
Passing sentence, Judge Thomas told Turner: "You must have known that anyone who brings drugs into prison, if caught, gets sent down."
He added: "This is an unusual case of its sort. People who want things taking into prison try to get people to do it for them. It's often women of good character, possibly with children, that are often taken advantage of. Maybe you are one of them, I don't know.
"The attitude of the court, and the message that needs to be sent to anyone involved, is that anyone bringing drugs into prison themselves should go to prison.
"In your case, these factors make it proper to suspend your sentence."