British grandmother ‘coerced into drug smuggling’

By Charles Maggs

A British woman arrested in Bali for smuggling 4.7kg of cocaine was coerced into her actions, London-based campaigners have said.

Lindsay Sandford, from Teeside is facing the death penalty after being caught trying to bring £1.6 million of the drug into Indonesia in May this year.

Anti-death penalty group Reprieve said Sandford has a history of mental health issues, a completely clean criminal record and was coerced into the action because of threats she received from local gangs.

"Lindsay has always maintained that she only agreed to carry the package to Bali after receiving threats against the lives of her family," said Harriet McCulloch, an investigator at Reprieve. 

"Since then she has cooperated fully with the Indonesian authorities but remains in Kerobokan prison where she continues to fear for the well-being of her family, who she was so desperately trying to protect.

"This report demonstrates that Lindsay was exploited by drug barons, who preyed on her vulnerability and her fear for the safety of her children."

The trial is expected to go on for several more weeks and Sandford's defence team is hoping to get Dr Jennifer Fleetwood, who contributed to Reprieve's report to testify.

"There is evidence to suggest that a trafficker would seek someone who was vulnerable," Fleetwood told the report.

"Having reviewed extracts from Lindsay's medical records I know that Lindsay has a history of mental health issues. This may have unfortunately made her an attractive target for threats, manipulation and coercion."

The Foreign Office refused to comment on the story.