Mum jailed for second attempt to smuggle drugs into prison

Wealstun Prison near Wetherby.  Picture by Tony Johnson
Wealstun Prison near Wetherby. Picture by Tony Johnson

A Queensbury mum has been jailed for 11 months after she tried to smuggle illicit drugs into a West Yorkshire prison.

Amanda Howard, 46, was given a suspendeded prison sentence for a similar offence in 2015, but just five months later she was caught trying to smuggle 25 tablets of Subutex, an opiate substitute, into HMP Wealstun near Wetherby.

Bradford Crown Court heard that drugs in prison had three times the value of drugs on the streets and the packages of the Class C tablets could have been worth over £1800.

Howard, of Hillcrest Drive, had been in the toilets of the visitors’ area at HMP Wealstun in January last year when a police detective noticed two packages roll out from her cubicle.

Prosecutor Stephen Wood said before Howard lost the packages she had been preparing to secrete them about herself probably in an intimate location.

The officer handed the packages to prison staff, but Howard claimed they were not hers and she had simply found them in the toilets.

Mr Wood revealed that five months before that incident Howard was sentenced to seven months in jail, suspended for a year, after she sent a card containing heroin and crack cocaine to a prisoner at HMP New Hall.

“The card was intended for a prisoner. Fortunately it was intercepted before it could reach the prisoner,” said Mr Wood.

He described Howard as “a career criminal” with 56 previous convictions for nearly 150 offences.

Most of her offending related to shoplifting and deception offences, but in 2000 she received a probation order for supplying drugs.

In January Howard pleaded guilty to attempting to get the tablets into HMP Wealstun and possessing the drugs with intent to supply.

Judge Jonathan Rose said the message that Howard had been given when she received the suspended sentence had failed to make any impact at all.

The judge said drugs in prison were used as “currency” and their presence undermined the security of the prison system.

Judge Rose said Howard had to receive a prison sentence to punish her and to remind others that that is what happens to anyone who tries to get drugs into a prison whether they are Class A, B or C.

He said he was sad to hear about Howard’s health difficulties and the impact her sentence would have on her family, but he stressed that she was the only one to blame for her situation.

Howard received seven months for the previous offence involving Class A drugs with an additional four months in jail for the latest attempt involving the Subutex tablets.