British woman sentenced to death for drug trafficking in Bali

Tuesday 22 January 2013 19.37
Police said they found 4.8kg of cocaine in Lindsay Sandiford's suitcase
Police said they found 4.8kg of cocaine in Lindsay Sandiford's suitcase

A 56-year-old British woman has been sentenced to death in Indonesia for drug trafficking.

Lindsay Sandiford, who is originally from Redcar in Teesside, was arrested last May after police in Bali said they found 4.8kg of cocaine in the lining of her suitcase.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: "We can confirm that a British national is facing the death penalty in Indonesia.

 "We remain in close contact with that national and continue to provide consular assistance.

"The UK remains strongly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances."

Sandiford was sentenced after being found guilty of violating the country's strict drug laws by the Denpasar District Court.

In the court's verdict, a judge panel headed by Amser Simanjuntak concluded that Sandiford has damaged the image of Bali as a tourism destination and weakened the government's programme of drug annihilation.

The cocaine she smuggled was worth around $2.5m (€1.9m), the Associated Press reported.

Prosecutors had said during the trial last month that they were seeking a 15-year prison term, and not pursuing the maximum penalty for drug trafficking, which is death.

Sandiford previously told the court she became involved only because "the lives of my children were in danger".

In her witness statement, she said: "I would like to begin by apologising to the Republic of Indonesia and the Indonesian people for my involvement.

"I would never have become involved in something like this but the lives of my children were in danger and I felt I had to protect them."

During the trial, Sandiford's lawyer read out a statement from her son in which he said: "I love my mother very much and have a very close relationship with her.

"I know that she would do anything to protect me. I cannot imagine what I would do if she was sentenced to death in relation to these charges."