Domestic abuse victim was forced to smuggle drugs into Doncaster prison, court hears

HMP Lindholme
HMP Lindholme
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A young mum was forced into smuggling two ounces of cannabis into a Doncaster prison by her abusive partner, a court heard.

Ahead of the offence being committed on October 24, 2016, prison officers at HMP Lindholme had been tipped off that someone due to visit a prisoner called Whitbread was going to try and bring drugs into the prison.

And when Ashleigh Hadderall, 24, arrived at the prison and told officers she was there to see Inmate Whitbread, she was immediately asked whether she had 'something she shouldn't' with her, Sheffield Crown Court heard during a hearing held today.

"At that point she removed a cylindrical package from her groin, and immediately said: 'It's only weed,' at which point the police were called," said Bev Tait, prosecuting.

She added: "71.2 grams of cannabis were contained in the package, with a street value of £214 - which would be worth five times as much in prison."

Hadderall made full admissions when interviewed by the police and pleaded guilty to taking a controlled drug into prison at an earlier hearing.

Dale Harris, defending, told the court that Hadderall had been forced into taking the package into prison by her former partner, who subjected her to both emotional and physical abuse throughout their seven year relationship.

The court was told how that Hadderall entered into the abusive relationship when she was just 15-years-old, and that her partner became more abusive after she gave birth to their son.

"When this offence took place she was lost to her family and was in the clutches of her abusive partner," said Mr Harris, adding that Hadderall, now of Stockport, had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital both before and after committing the offence.

The judge, Recorder Simon Eckersley, told Hadderall that he would be able to take the 'exceptional' course of her suspending her prison sentence, on account of the duress she was under when she committed the offence.

"I can only imagine the pressure you felt when he demanded you take that package to prison.

"The coward of a man who was on the outside got you to smuggle drugs into prison, instead of doing it himself," said Recorder Eckersley, adding: "People who smuggle drugs into prison normally go to prison themselves. But for someone with your particular vulnerabilities, prison - while a fitting punishment - would only damage you."

Recorder Eckersley sentenced Hadderall to 18-months in prison, suspended for two years, ordered her to complete a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement and made her the subject of a three-month curfew.