Michelle MacLean was ordered to take the class A drug – which had a value in prison worth around £3,000 – into HMP Northumberland during a visit in which she was hugged by a prisoner
Image: northumbria police)
An “exploited” mum who was “pressured” into smuggling crack cocaine into a prison has been jailed.
Michelle MacLean said she was ordered to take the class A drug – which had a value in prison worth around £3,000 – into HMP Northumberland during a visit.
After initially refusing, the 40-year-old went through with the offence, but raised suspicions while visiting the prison on March 4, last year, after she was hugged by a prisoner and “did not reciprocate”.
It was soon after that officers discovered the crack cocaine, along with over 200 Etizolam tablets in the possession of the prisoner.
MacLean, from Peterlee, appeared at Durham Crown Court on Monday to be sentenced for c onveying an article into prison, reports Chronicle Live.
Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, said MacLean was visiting a man at the category C prison near Acklington and both were being “supervised via CCTV” as they talked.
“Both stood up and were acting suspiciously”, he said.
“The male attempted to embrace the defendant and she didn’t reciprocate.
“Officers then moved in and isolated them.”
Mr Dodds said that the male prisoner was then searched and packages were found “in his underwear and anus”.
In total, 222 Etizolam tablets and 2.48g of crack cocaine were found, which had a prison value of between £3,000 and £3,500, the court heard.
Neil Bennett, defending, said MacLean was “pressured” and “exploited” into committing the offence.
He told the court that MacLean’s then-partner was serving a prison sentence at the time and had “received threats that he would come to harm if she did not deliver the package to another”.
“She refused, but nonetheless was pressured and she reluctantly agreed”, Mr Bennett said.
The court heard that MacLean believed the package – which was delivered to her a day before the offence – contained sleeping tablets.
But on the morning of the offence, she pretended she had missed her bus in the hope of not going through with it, Mr Bennett said.
“Such was the pressure from others, a car was organised and she was picked up and taken to the prison”, he said.
The court was also told that MacLean was threatened that her “windows would be put out” if she refused to get into the car.
Mr Bennett added that MacLean, who was serving a suspended prison sentence at the time of the offence, was “emotionally vulnerable” and had not worked for 15 years due to mental health difficulties.
The court heard MacLean had previous convictions, mainly for theft and dishonestly matters.
Recorder Alex Menary jailed MacLean for 18 months.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.