Pregnant War Heroine Used Her 7-Year-Old Daughter To Help Smuggle £170,000 Of Drugs


A four months' pregnant war heroine will have her baby in jailed after being convicted of drug smuggling – and using her seven-year-old daughter as cover.

Former Lance Corporal Naomi Thriepland, 25, appeared on TV via satellite from Afghanistan at Chrismas when her daughter was five.

But she is now in disgrace and serving a four-year sentence after she was stopped with her daughter by her side in a rented BMW convertible containing £170,000 of heroin after agreeing to sneak it in to the UK for £8,000.

A court heard that Thriepland was serving as a medic attached to the Grenadier Guards' bomb disposal unit on the front line in Afghanistan while her little girl was being looked after by her mum at home.

The young girl broke down when she sat on the GMTV sofa to speak to her mum just days before Christmas 2009.

Canterbury Crown Court heard that Lance Corporal Thriepland quit the army to spend more time with her daughter but turned to drug running to help buy her a better life.

The prosecution told how customs officials at Folkestone, Kent became suspicious of the stunning former soldier in December 2011.

Thriepland concocted a cover story that she had taken her daughter to Disneyland Paris but officials were suspicious as the car had made two previous trips.

Her story had worked in France where she told border officials at Coquelles about a short break to see Mickey Mouse. But customs examined her car on arrival back in the UK and found 3.44kg of heroin hidden in the roof and 12kg of cutting agents.

Disgraced Thriepland, who had been earning £105 a week as a trainee beautician, will now give birth to her second child behind bars and have limited contact with her daughter, now eight.

Judge Heather Norton in jailing Thriepland said: "You did what you did for financial gain. More than that, you took your seven-year-old child with you as some kind of family cover putting that child at risk.

"You claim you became a courier to give her a better life but that child is now likely to suffer more than you.

"You have served this country with a number of tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and in perilous positions; so whatever else can be said about you, this was certainly out of character."

Thriepland, from Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria denied making previous drug runs to Europe but admitted she had made a 'dummy run' a month before.

The court heard that despite claiming to be paid just £7 an hour for a 15 hour weekly job, an unexplained £10,500 had previously been transferred into her personal bank account.

Christopher Baur, defending, told the court she had not acted in 'malice or wickedness but rather stupidity and with an element of greed' and she wanted 'better conditions for her child'.