Despair for woman held on drugs charge

A DISTRAUGHT care home manager remains locked up in prison this morning after her bid for freedom failed to progress yet again.Marianne Telfer broke down in tears after learning she would now have to wait until next Wednesday for her appeal after two judges could not attend a Dominican Republic courthouse yesterday.

A DISTRAUGHT care home manager remains locked up in prison this morning after her bid for freedom failed to progress yet again.

Marianne Telfer broke down in tears after learning she would now have to wait until next Wednesday for her appeal after two judges could not attend a Dominican Republic courthouse yesterday.

A panel of five judges had been due to hear 28-year-old Miss Telfer's habeas corpus application against drug trafficking charges at 2.30pm UK time yesterday, but only three were available.

It is the second time in two weeks that the Ardleigh woman, who vehemently protests her innocence, has been left frustrated by court delays.

Puerto Plata prison officials have only recently apologised to her for errors that prevented her from leaving the compound for the original hearing date a fortnight ago.

This time, she was allowed to travel to the regional capital of Santiago to be with her mother and father at the appeal, but her hopes were again dashed adding to the pressure on her already frail mental state.

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Her 34-year-old brother Richard, from Colchester, said: "We're all just devastated. Marianne is totally distraught. We just don't know when this is going to end."

Sarah de Mas, deputy director of Fair Trials Abroad, which is closely involved with Miss Telfer's Caribbean defence team, said one of the judges had been sick and the other was on annual leave.

She added: "The president of the court was very apologetic to the Telfers because he is fully aware of the anxiety they are feeling, not to mention the expenses that they are clocking up.

"These sorts of things happen all the time in our system too. It's absolutely awful for the family, but it's not a cause for concern from a legal standpoint.

"I have reassured them they have a first rate lawyer, an extremely strong case and they need to be positive for Wednesday now."

Miss Telfer was arrested at the end of February following the death of her boyfriend, Richard Flack, 34, from Ardleigh, who died when cocaine-filled condoms burst inside his stomach as they were preparing to leave their hotel to return home.

He had been trying to smuggle the drugs back to the UK at the end of a make-or-break holiday.

Police arrested Miss Telfer after they discovered a plastic bag of more drugs under a bed in the couple's room.

The Acorn Village care home manager strongly maintains she knew nothing about them.

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