Published on Tuesday, January 22, 2013
A 56-year-old British woman has been sentenced to death on the holiday island of Bali after a stash of cocaine was found in the lining of her suitcase.
Lindsay Sandiford from Gloucestershire, who was arrested after flying to the Indonesian island from Bangkok in Thailand, claimed she was coerced into bringing the drugs to Bali.
However judges yesterday ignored a recommendation from prosecutors for a 15-year prison sentence, instead handing her the death penalty.
Her lawyers said they were "surprised" at the verdict but the harsh sentence can be taken as a sign of an intention by the island's law enforcers to crack down on anyone who damages the image of Bali as a holiday destination and undermines its anti-drugs programme.
Delivering their verdict, the judges said there were no mitigating reasons that convinced them they should reduce her sentence.
Sandiford's lawyer said they will appeal. Sandiford, who is originally from Redcar in Teesside, was accused of being at the centre of a drugs ring involving three other Britons.
Paul Beales has already been sentenced to four years for possession of drugs and Rachel Dougall jailed for one year for failing to report a crime. The trial of the fourth, Julian Ponder from Brighton, believed to be Dougall's partner, is ongoing.
He is alleged to have collected cocaine from Sandiford.
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