Lindsay Sandiford, Grandmother Arrested In Bali, Could Face 15 Years In Prison

British Grandmother Could Face 15 Years In Jail For Drug-Smuggling In Bali

A British woman is facing 15 years in jail in Bali for her alleged role in a cocaine smuggling ring.

Prosecutors have asked for the sentence if Lindsay Sandiford, 56, is convicted of smuggling the Class A drugs worth £1.5 million into the resort.

Sandiford, originally from Redcar, Teesside, was arrested in May when customs officers at Bali's airport allegedly discovered 8.4lb (3.8kg) of cocaine in her luggage.

The 56-year-old was pictured sat at a table surrounded by packages wrapped up in brown tape as a customs official cut them open with a knife.

Prosecutor Lie Putra Setiawan told the Denpasar District Court today that the defendant was guilty of violating the country's strict narcotics law.

Another Briton, Rachel Dougall, 39, was sentenced to 12 months in prison in separate proceedings today for failing to report a crime to authorities.

Dougall's partner Julian Ponder, a former antiques restorer, with whom she lives in a villa on the resort, was charged with conspiring to import, smuggle and exchange drugs and being part of a drug syndicate, it has been reported.

Under Indonesia's very strict anti-drugs laws, drug smuggling carries the death sentence though foreigners seldom receive it.

An associate of the pair, Paul Beales, was also jailed for four years for illegal possession of 0.1oz (3.1g) of cannabis.

Dougall, Ponder and Beales were arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking at the end of May along with an Indian man.

The four suspects were held in a sting operation after Sandiford, a housewife, was allegedly caught with the cocaine stuffed in the lining of a suitcase as she arrived on the sunshine island.

Dougall, who has already served eight months behind bars, maintained her innocence and insisted she was the victim of a "fit up".

Ponder has also alleged he was set up by Sandiford as he went to pick up a birthday present for his daughter.

Wearing an orange inmate's T-shirt Lindsay Sandiford was also photographed flanked by armed officers wearing black masks.

Dr Jennifer Fleetwood, an expert in the drugs trade, recently submitted written testimony to the court that, in her professional opinion, “Lindsay Sandiford was subjected to coercion by one or more parties over a period of time,” and that Lindsay’s “vulnerability will have made her an ideal target for drugs traffickers.”

Harriet McCulloch, Investigator at legal charity Reprieve, who are supporting Sandiford, said: “Lindsay has been through a terrible experience – she was exploited by drug traffickers, who targeted her because of her vulnerability and her fear for the safety of her children.

"She was interrogated by the Indonesian police without a translator, legal representation or the assistance of the British embassy for 10 days.

"It would have been unthinkable for the prosecution to demand her execution. We hope that the judges take all of this into consideration when handing down their verdict."

Sandiford recently told the Mail on Sunday that she agreed to take the goods in an attempt to save her son's life who had received death threats.

"I got a call from someone – I don’t know who – telling me my boy was a snitch and they would kill him if I didn’t put things right," she said.

"Did I think about the consequences if I got caught? No. I thought more about the consequences if I didn’t do it."


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