Woman who tried to smuggle drugs into Suffolk jail avoids prison
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press, Archant
A woman who attempted to smuggle cannabis into a Suffolk jail has been spared an immediate prison sentence.
Kellie Puddephatt, 31, was due to stand trial this week after pleading not guilty to conveying a quantity of cannabis (List A article) and a SIM card (List B article) into HMP Highpoint at Stradishall, near Newmarket.
But on Thursday she changed her pleas to guilty and appeared before Judge Martyn Levett at Ipswich Crown Court on Friday to be sentenced for the two offences.
The court heard that on November 24, 2018, Puddephatt, of no fixed address, attended the jail to see a serving prisoner when a drug dog began sniffing at her chest and bra area.
A 10cm by 5cm parcel was discovered on Puddephatt and found to contain 30kg of cannabis. A SIM card for a mobile phone was also found.
Judge Levett said he found Puddephatt's story that two men picked her up, gave her a package and took her to the prison "quite difficult to believe".
Puddephatt claimed the men told her the person she was visiting in prison would get hurt if she didn't do as they asked, the court heard.
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But the judge did highlight the length of time it has taken to get the case to court given that Puddephatt has been back to court six times between this offending and her sentence.
Judge Levett said such long delays "causes an injustice" to all parties.
He told Puddephatt: "I have queried why such a straightforward case has taken three years to be charged when you were caught red-handed on November 24, 2018.
"This delay is becoming an increasingly common, and such unjustified delays between offending and charging causes an injustice to both sides, especially in this type of case.
"Your circumstances change, the witnesses are waiting for long periods and the entire sentencing landscape might change over the period of three years, as this case demonstrates.
"It causes extra strain on a defendant, the witnesses, who have to endure the wait with all the extra stress that this brings."
Puddephatt was handed 15 months' imprisonment, suspended for two years, with a 18-month drug rehabilitation requirement.