Drug trafficking British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford says 'mother love' was her driving force

 

Until the fateful moment when customs officers at Bali airport ripped open Lindsay Sandiford’s suitcase, her greatest claim to fame was appearing in her local newspaper twice complaining about her son Eliot being mistreated.

Firstly she took on her local education authority because the troubled 14-year-old had been left without a school place, having been suspended 16 times, then three years later she complained a local games shop would not fix his Xbox.

Yet, if she is to be believed, it is because of a mother’s love – albeit for some unsavoury children – that she is now facing the firing squad for smuggling £1.6m of cocaine into Indonesia.

It was after returning to the UK from India – where she had moved five years earlier with her partner – that she discovered Eliot, by then aged 22, was being threatened by a drugs gang who suspected him of being a police informant. According to an interview last summer, it was out of fear for his life that she travelled to Bangkok and agreed to take part in a deal she suspected was “dodgy”, without knowing it involved drugs.

It was in the Thai capital that, she claims, she met Rachel Dougall and Paul Beales and a package was placed in a compartment of her suitcase. Mrs Sandiford then travelled to Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport, where she was stopped by customs officials and drugs were discovered in the suitcase.

Agreeing with the authorities to take part in a sting operation, she handed over a parcel to Ms Dougall’s partner Julian Ponder, 43. A verdict is due in his case tomorrow; he insists he thought he was picking up a birthday present for his daughter.

Ms Dougall and Mr Beales have been convicted after denying the accusations, but they received lighter sentences due to a lack of evidence linking them to the events. Mrs Sandiford insisted that she had only done it for her children. “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,” she told Denpasar District Court.

In a statement to the court, her son said: “I love my mother very much... I know that she would do anything to protect me.” Mrs Sandiford has conceded her family do not have a good reputation near their former home in Cheltenham, however, admitting her sons “fought each other constantly” and the family were “neighbours from hell”. Indeed, one local resident said bluntly: “I was glad to see the back of her.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss